Is American Healthcare Going All Euro on Us?

Ezra Klein thinks it might.

“We’re America,” Max Baucus likes to say. “Which means we have to write a uniquely American solution.” But the health-care solution that actually seems to be emerging in Congress — which looks like the health-care solutions proposed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards during the campaign — isn’t all that unique. Not only does it look like another country’s health-care system, but it also looks like a European country’s health-care system. Quel Horreur!

In truth, it’s seeming more and more likely that America is going to go Dutch. And that’s not a bad thing.

As Klein notes, the caveats and hazards are many, and the key will be in achieving the degree of regulation that the Dutch have. I’ve grave doubts about that myself. The U.S. is in general much more hostile to heavy regulation than the Dutch are, and much more willing to weight public good over private business freedoms. And our regulatory systems (can you say FDA?) tend to get … I don’t want to say ‘hijacked,’ but … let’s say ‘heavily influenced’ by the industries and interests they are assigned to regulate.


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