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Matthieu Miossec

Doctoral Student - Genetic Medecine (Congenital Heart Disease),

TEDCRED 100+

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What are a few things your country could learn from other countries?

There are many ideas which a country may too readily vilify or praise without looking outside of its own borders where some of these ideas will have been tried and tested. Look outside your country and go hunting for great ideas.

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    Sep 3 2011: How to provide health care for all citizens seems like something the US could (should) learn.
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      Sep 4 2011: Mr. Bruni, it would be interesting learn your idea of a country that meets your objective, "provide health care for all citizens," then learn your information 1) on how that country's medical provisions are assured economic viabilty, and 2) how the quality of health care in that country compares with the health care America provides its citizens and non-citizens.
      I have the impression that medical care in America is the best in the world--that when you go elsewhere, quality, scheduling, and treatability versus age suffer and are expected to decline as economic viability declines.
      • Sep 4 2011: Don't forget about the people, who are not in the system.

        google.de results for "uninsured americans" = 50 Million, roughly 20%.

        compared to "uninsured europeans" = no result.
        (ok, Europe is not really a nation, but none the less ;-))

        Also, you may find some of these npr articles interesting:
        http://www.npr.org/series/91972152/health-care-for-all
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        Sep 4 2011: America does not have the best healthcare in the world, whatever metric you chose to use. Have a look at countries that implement universal healthcare. France's healthcare is particularly renown for its excellence (it was number 1 in the WHO's 2000 ranking).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_system#Cross-country_comparisons
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          Sep 4 2011: Interesting, and together with the NPR series promising. Thank you. Phil
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          Sep 6 2011: health care in america is something like 17% of gdp so why would they change? the more sick and dying the better it is for there healthcare sector and the better the gdp looks
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          Sep 7 2011: @ Matthieu. I just read a great book that outlines how the managed healthcare in the USA propagandized the American population into believing that lie. It was written by one of the guys who actually worked on the deliberate PR campaign.
          Thanks for contradicting that propaganda here on TED and for making it clear that America does not have the best healthcare in the world. As long as they continue to believe that manufactured lie, so many of their citizens suffer without healthcare.
        • Sep 7 2011: I would argue that U.S.A. has the best Heathcare that money can buy. Unfortunately, one needs a rather large amount of money in order to reach the "best" status.
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          Sep 8 2011: The name of the book is:
          Deadly Spin: An insurance industry insider speaks out on how corporate PR is killing healthcare and decieving Americans.

          Worth reading.
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          Sep 8 2011: QUOTE: "I would argue that U.S.A. has the best Heathcare that money can buy. "

          As you say, if you can afford it, you can get good healthcare in America. But I wouldn't say it is "the best." One of the best, definitely. The best ... probably not.
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          Sep 22 2011: Health promotion and primary care should be important components of healthcare in the United States. Some of the health issues in the U.S. may be different than those in France. An unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and lack of exercise can lead to problems we often see in the States like type II diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, lung disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.
        • Sep 25 2011: I always thought Cuba had the best healthcare system in the world? Correct me if I am wrong but do they not also have one of the best education systems in the world as well. I believe around 80 - 85% of the population owns their house with the outstanding being that of doctors and nurses who have accommodation provided for them wherever they are based.
        • Sep 29 2011: America does have the best technology, although it is sad that we don't have healthcare for all...........................................
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        Sep 5 2011: Well for starter we have about a third of the population who do not have access to healthcare. Yes in emergencies they can get vital needs met, but most likely will be bankrupt shortly there after. As for a routine visit or, good luck with that. Now if you have coverage most likely it is paid through your job. This contributes to a stagnant economy. Many people who would change profession for what ever reason have the the idea of no health care coverage hanging over there head. It also is not good for business who have to pay for it, and compete with companies in other nations who do not have this added expense. Because of this many companies who provide benefits (a dying trend) hire few people and work them with quite a bit of overtime which is cheaper than providing a healthcare package. Oh and forget about any vacation time with this sort of setup, which increases stress levels for the population as a whole which in return is unhealthy.

        Now the funny part is we spend about twice as much as most other industrial countries that provide service for all. This is why I responded to Matthieu question by saying we could learn to provide healthcare to it's citizen from other countries. Perhaps I should have been a bit more specific and said we should learn to fund a healthcare system that provides all it's citizens.
      • Sep 5 2011: I'm an American college student. Health insurance is a luxury and a dream to my demographic. We do have the best quality which is pathetic and pointless since we can't use it. I can't describe to you the fear of getting sick and not being able to speak treatment outside of life treating emergencies, which is hard to get anyway. ANYONE in the U.S who has healthcare has been screwed over by them. IT IS INSANE here its like having a life preserver dangeled in front of you while your drowning. Docters drive up health care costs without a care, Nurses get crap wages, I would rather die from cancer at 75 than 4, A reality I have witnessed in my lifetime, purely do to lack of income.
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          Sep 6 2011: My three children paid for medical insurance while they were in college, and it was reasonable at the time. What's happened in twenty years?
        • Sep 6 2011: i don't have any figures to support this, but i do know that many of the world's biggest companies are insurance companies, and they must be making their profits from selling insurance, and also they are obliged to satisfy investors by making each year's numbers better than the previous year's.

          also you have all the litigation nowadays in america that didn't use to exist. this adds another vicious upward spiral since doctors need to buy increasingly expensive insurance against possible malpractice suits (even a perfect doctor must have insurance), which means costs go up, which means insurance costs go up even further.

          i think then logically the solution is to cap payouts for medical malpractice, and introduce an optional not-for-profit insurance system to act as an anchor. we have medical cover in australia, but the public system is 'bronze' level. if you want better service you pay for a 'silver' or 'gold' level private health insurance from a for-profit insurance company.
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        Sep 6 2011: Hi Phil,

        It's not an area I know much about but, apparently, you could learn something about universal health care by looking north.

        Canada's system is said to be quite good.

        I do have some first-hand experience with the Canadian system: About three years ago, I slipped and fell on some icy steps and broke my leg in two places. We called an ambulance; they picked me up and delivered me to the hospital where I was treated. I was in the hospital for two or three weeks (I don't remember the exact number of days) and I was operated on three times. There were complications that required skin-grafting and so on. I was released with a wheel chair.

        When the bill arrived, I had to pay $85.00 for the ambulance, and $10.00 for a splint. Everything else was covered by "medical."

        I pay about $60.00 a month for the service. Regular check ups and non-emergency treatment is also covered.

        I don't know how that compares to other countries' plans but I am grateful for, and satisfied with, the Canadian system.

        As far as I know, everyone in Canada - even the destitute - qualify for coverage.
        • Sep 6 2011: i think an important point in thomas' story is that after healing, he got back to work and paying taxes, no doubt much more than the treatment cost the government.

          a lot of opponents to public healthcare cite the cost, but it's actually more expensive not to give healthcare away for free:
          a sick person needs welfare and other care, but a healthy person works, pays taxes, and spends their salary, all of which contribute to the economy instead of burdening it.
        • Sep 6 2011: I've had a similar experience in australia, tore my acl playing football and had a reco. i pay $0 a month for my governmant health care and only had to pay for the crutches everything else including the opp was covered
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          Sep 6 2011: There's nothing like first hand experience. And I appreciate Ben's point about getting working people back to work. Yet I wonder about the long term sustainability of universal health care. How does it impact personal responsibility?
          I am retired and consider it my duty to myself to 1) regurlary exercise and 2) manage what I eat and drink. Of course I don't smoke. In fact, when an ailment comes my way, the first think I think of is, "How can exercise rid this problem?" For example, I knead a sore finger loop to release the tendon and avoid trigger-finger surgery.
          My family needs me alive and well to cope with events like tropical storm Lee this past weekend and other practical and social matters.
          The question of giving up my cancer treatment four a four year old (see Joe Fletcher's comment) is perplexing. Seems like you'd need euthanasia for me. But then, what about my family? I would not volunteer.
        • Sep 7 2011: phillip i think that's a great point and i agree we don't want a system that absolves people of responsibility. in australia the government plan is only the most basic bread-and-water type cover; it'll keep you on your feet but will never be a 'desirable' level of insurance cover.

          there have been discussions in australia about making those who choose lifestyles that lead to poorer health make a larger contribution to the system, but really they already do. the tax on tbacco products is very high, so smokers have already paid for their emphysema medication long before they get the illness, and fresh food is exempt from tax whereas instant and other prepared foods (which are more likely to lead to disease associated with obesity) attract a 10% tax.

          i'm not sure what you mean by giving up your cancer treatment for a four year old? i think joe was referring to the fact that a 4-year-with cancer will die if they are denied health insurance, however if they have it they can get treatment and life a good long life even if they do finally succumb to the disease at 75.
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          Sep 8 2011: I would like to agree with and support Thomas' story and respond to Philip's points re: personal responsibility. I am Canadian.
          I am a very grateful Canadian. Our religious leaders led us into Universal healthcare in the 1930's. A man named Tommy Douglas (actor Keifer Sutherland's grandfather) is considered the greatest Canadian ever for helping us to understand that like education, healthcare is a necessary and important responsibility that Canadians share with one another. I think most of us take responsibility for our health but I also realize that some people in every society are less able and less mentally healthy to do so. This is a red herring because most mentally healthy people realize that even if healthcare is free, the personal cost of illness is too high.
          I have never faced financial hardship due to healthcare costs even after giving birth to 5 children (who grew up strong and healthy and are now tax payers themselves) and having a bout of cancer. When I was finally diagnosed, I was given surgery within 10 days of the diagnosis, given surgery by a world class surgeon who specialized in my form of disease, was released from the hospital and given nursing care at home to help to close the wound and I NEVER paid one cent out of pocket. I am able to be a well employed and contributing member of society without any financial crises because I was sick. More than 5 years later, I am healthy and productive and very grateful to my country and to my fellow citizens.I am proud to live in a caring society and we pay far less of our GDP to healthcare than is paid in the USA and everyone- no matter how poor- has universal access to healthcare. If you are sick- you are cared for- PERIOD.
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          Sep 22 2011: Debra, thank you SO much for sharing that story. I see you on these conversations regularly and am so glad for your fellow citizens to help get you back on your feet so you can share your insights.
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        Sep 22 2011: Great point, Phillip. Too many of us take a hard line on one side or the other on this issue. Several of my family members and friends are in the medical field or related to its research in some way. While I would rather be in the U.S. if I had cancer or a rare illness, for day to day health care, I don't think the we do all that much better than many other industrialized countries. A simple examination of statistics like life expectancy and infant mortality doesn't show a huge discrepancy either. I wonder, though, how much of that is due to cultural influences and lifestyle choices (we're not exactly known for a stress-free, organic existence :) These are all difficult questions, but worth exploring.
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          Sep 22 2011: One of the most rewarding benefits of working hard on your own fitness and healthy diet is that it influences people who know you. They can see in your body and conduct and expressions how much it helps, motivates, and inspires you. I am 68 and just got off the phone with a guy, Kishon Seth, who is 76 and almost thrives on calling me nearly daily. We are laughing about how much the stock market is falling and our retirement funds are shrinking but we focus on our fitness practices of the day, congratulate each other and re-commit to our duty of staying out of the hospital. He celebrates a recent triumph over syatic nerve problems and refers me to a book titled Back Prescription. He and I both share these attidues with as many people as we can. The only negative is that few listen.

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