Harry Wyeth: On health care, what is working elsewhere? | TheUnion.com

Harry Wyeth: On health care, what is working elsewhere?

Reading the recent back-and-forths about the Affordable Care Act, I noticed one item missing: information about how other wealthy countries manage health care and how much it costs.

It is well known that all of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand offer free medical care for everyone. Of course, it is paid for out of taxes — ”there is no such thing as a free lunch” — but a little basic research shows that the cost per capita in all such countries is much, much less than in the U.S.

In 2011, I asked an innkeeper in Queensland, Australia, how the system there worked. He explained that he and his wife — in their late 50s, I think — were covered along with everyone else by the national system, called Medicare. Sometimes the wait times were a little long, he said, and some Australians, including he and his wife, opted for private insurance instead. For this, they received a credit on their national income tax, but they did have to pay a private premium. How much? About $330 monthly, he told us.

Harry Wyeth

Grass Valley

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