2 Comments

  1. James Wolfensberger
    July 30, 2013 @ 1:48 am

    Perhaps the Norwegian model is to reach even greater excellence by a generation willing to really dig into these options, thereby compelling their government to insist on high standards while the privatized insurance must truly excel in order to rise above the government standard – perhaps good news for all?

    Meanwhile, in the U.S. we are still struggling to get to a point where even our insured citizens can feel good about our system.

    I don’t think it’s any secret that Norway is a nation to put many other democracies to shame.

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    • Anne Boysen
      July 30, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

      I think that is a very good take on it, James! I too have wondered if the competition from a fairly decent public system is more effective than private-to-private competition. At first it seems counter intuitive that public healthcare helps create more consumer friendly private options, but it does make sense. I had a blog post that was posted on Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids blog a few weeks ago, http://www.freerangekids.com/a-fall-from-the-swings-a-leon-in-medical-economics/#comments. It drew quite a few comments from people both in inside and outside the U.S., many who confirmed those ideas. I mentioned in the post an incidence where private treatment for an injury here in Norway would have been more than 15 times less expensive than it’s equivalent in the U.S. Being married to a dentist and having helped him run a private practice for almost a decade, I see the other angle as well. It’s not that all doctors are out to exploit people’s vulnerabilities by tearing into their wallets like vultures on a carcass because there are real costs tied up in things like legal fees, manpower to hassle with collection, dealing with insurance companies etc. Really a lose-lose situation for all except for the staff that would otherwise be let go from the thankless jobs of playing tug-of-war with other entities in the dysfunctional system. But imagine if we could free up all the money that is locked up in health- (sickness-) related paper-pushing and legal red tape, and use it to educate that workforce to become nutritionists, public health educators, nurses and specialists. Not only would we give those people good educations and more meaningful jobs, but we would get a population that would be healthier, leaner, happier and far less expensive to treat. I think the savings would be immense.

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