The Healing of America

A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care

Reid, T. R.

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Healing of America
Penguin Putnam
Bestselling author T. R. Reid guides a whirlwind tour of successful health care systems worldwide, revealing possible paths toward U.S. reform.

In The Healing of America, New York Times bestselling author T. R. Reid shows how all the other industrialized democracies have achieved something the United States can’t seem to do: provide health care for everybody at a reasonable cost.

In his global quest to find a possible prescription, Reid visits wealthy, free market, industrialized democracies like our own—including France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and Canada—where he finds inspiration in example. Reid shares evidence from doctors, government officials, health care experts, and patients the world over, finding that foreign health care systems give everybody quality care at an affordable cost. And that dreaded monster “socialized medicine” turns out to be a myth. Many developed countries provide universal coverage with private doctors, private hospitals, and private insurance.

In addition to long-established systems, Reid also studies countries that have carried out major health care reform. The first question facing these countries—and the United States, for that matter—is an ethical issue: Is health care a human right? Most countries have already answered with a resolute yes, leaving the United States in the murky moral backwater with nations we typically think of as far less just than our own.

The Healing of America lays bare the moral question at the heart of our troubled system, dissecting the misleading rhetoric surrounding the health care debate. Reid sees problems elsewhere, too: He finds poorly paid doctors in Japan, endless lines in Canada, mistreated patients in Britain, spartan facilities in France. Still, all the other rich countries operate at a lower cost, produce better health statistics, and cover everybody. In the end, The Healing of America is a good news book: It finds models around the world that Americans can borrow to guarantee health care for everybody who needs it.

Baker & Taylor
A best-selling author guides a whirlwind tour of successful health-care systems worldwide, disproving American myths of "socialized medicine" to find possible paths toward reform.

& Taylor

Discusses successful health-care systems worldwide, disproving American myths of "socialized medicine" to find possible paths toward reform.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2009
ISBN: 1594202346
Characteristics: 277 p. ; 25 cm


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Mar 05, 2015
  • cuwabig1 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very good book by a reporter on the U.S. health system, by means of comparing it with the health systems in the U.K., France, India, Japan, etc. His family went with him to these countries and, in addition to statistical comparisons across the countries, he compares the experiences of his family in receiving care in each country. Very enlightening.

Mar 03, 2015
  • gwjib04 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A clear and accessible introduction to health care systems around the world.

Needs a new edition given changes in the U.S. post-ACA.

Criticisms mentioned in comments below are correct; Reid's "prescription" for changing health care in the U.S. is overly simplified. The value in this book is its fast and easy introduction to systems around the globe.

Jan 17, 2014
  • StarGladiator rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It's not a bad book, but it's not outstanding, either, just another author rehashing the same ground, while offerning nothing new. The Publishers Weekly reviewer correctly hits the target with, ". . .Reid neglects to address the elephant in the room: just how are we to sell these changes to the mighty providers and insurers?" Of course, in a Corporate Fascist State, the banks, which own those insurers and providers (the organizational providers, that is) call the shots! The two top cost drivers in American healthcare (with its private insurance construct) are never mentioned: (1) hedge fund speculation across the entire healthcare sector; and, (2) private equity/leveraged buyouts (LBOs) across the entire healthcare sector. If people aren't aware, or don't understand, these cost drivers, they are so out of the data loop, it isn't worthy of discussion!

Feb 09, 2013
  • bjcefola rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very readable introduction to national health care systems. Describes the failings of pre-ACA U.S. care and how they do it differently (and generally better) in a sampling of other countries.

Worth reading for the stories of how systems in other countries came to be, evolving out of particular social and political contexts.


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