A Surgeon's Case for Universal Health Care

If every other industrialization nation and Massachusetts can do it, so can the feds
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2009 7:02 PM CST
Dominique Entzminger, a physician assistant of family medicine, wears a stethoscope during an examination at a health center in Massachusetts.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – If Americans are smart, they'll learn from other nations—and Massachusetts—in building a system of universal health care, writes surgeon Atul Gawande in The New Yorker. The rise of health reform "is surprising and instructive" in nations like the UK and France, which made controversial changes after too many "stories about cruelty," Gawande writes. Now it's America's turn to stop fearing the “unintended consequences of drastic change."

What's more, the US can build on any of its "hodgepodge" of institutions—like Medicare and veterans' health care—to build an American-style form of universal care. Massachusetts' plan has worked well, despite some grousing taxpayers, since it kicked in 2 years ago, Gawande writes. He hasn’t seen a single patient delay cancer treatment due to cost: “That’s a remarkable change: a glimpse of American health care without the routine cruelty.”