Sep 26, 2009

The Swiss menace

No, I’m not talking about the Geneva housing market, but am referring to one of the Op-Ed columns by Mr. Krugman on the American Health Care system in the NYT. This time though, it is ‘cheese’ and ‘health insurance’ we see in the same sentence. According to Krugman, there are three possible ways for an improvement in the US health system.

#1: The British way
#2 The Canadian way
#3 The Swiss way

Krugman says “.. the truth is that the plans on the table would, roughly speaking, turn America into Switzerland — which may be occupied by lederhosen-wearing holey-cheese eaters, but wasn’t a socialist hellhole the last time I looked.”

Two years ago, Michael O. Leavitt (US Health and Human Services Secretary) visited Switzerland and the Netherlands, since policymakers had been promoting a system with universal coverage but rely on the private sector. Ironically though, the Swiss health-care system is based on the “Managed care” which is a concept originating from the American health system. A Swiss system would further mean increased regulation to ensure universal coverage.

What if Obamacare is chosen by the US as the ‘right’ way to go, would it actually “Swissify America” as Krugman states? Would the American public be comfortable with the Swiss model, given that health costs in Switzerland have been rising more than 4%, and a country where insurance costs have been increasing at a higher rate than the general increase in price and GDP – yet health indicators far superior than the US!

The following graph shows the distribution in the cantons of the average monthly premiums for adults (older than 26 years) in CHF for 2005 - GE (Geneva) is right where it should be!

1 comment:

Cam said...

Last time I looked, the Swiss don't wear Lederhosen....

......although the Swiss system is good in that it mandates insurance for everybody, the insurance premiums are ridiculously expensive!!

Why not go the Australian way - a public system where every resident is entitled to treatment in public hospitals, supplemented by a private system for those who can afford it?