Monday, September 7, 2009

Is Japan a good model for US health care reform?

Blaine Harden, of the Washington Post Foreign Service, has a front page story Labor Day, “Health Care in Japan: Low Cost for Now: Aging Population Could Strain System”, link here.

The Japanese system is mostly “private” but does not allow health insurance companies to profit or to cherry pick, and has mandatory insurance. Nevertheless, there are many “inconveniences”. And the strict cost controls will be hard to maintain as the population ages rapidly. Japan’s system was actually featured in PBS’s “Sick Around the World”. Japanese visit the doctor three times as often as Americans. But many visits are very short. Medicine is not a real profitable field to enter in Japan.

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