Last week I attended a business conference in lovely Corpus Christi, Texas. Among the speakers was a gentleman named Dr. Selvoy M. Fillerup, MD. He has written a book called Chronic Crisis in which he analyzes health care systems around the world and reports what seems to work and what doesn't. I don't agree with him 100%, but I wouldn't be heartbroken if his suggestion were inacted in the United States.
What I did find interesting in his presentation was the revelation that the single-payer socialized medicine model of the UK and of Canada is actually quite rare. Much of Europe allows for extensive private insurance. The universal mandate is very common, but often it is only for limited coverage.
The percentage of population with Private Health Insurance for various industrialized countries:
(No private primary, just supplementary)
UK - 3.3%
Canada - 11%
(With Private primary)
Germany - 10%
Netherlands - 31%
Australia - 46%
Ireland - 49%
Japan - 60%
France - 86%
Switzerland - 99%
I'm not sure what America's percentage is exactly, but I have seen number in the range of 66% for the amount of health care expenditures paid by private insurance companies and individuals. The rest being from Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans Administration.
It was the opinion of Dr. Fillerup that all of the countries in the (with Private Primary) list had superior health outcomes than the UK, Canada, and the United States. All countries with a single-payer socialized plan had very long lines. The U.S. is the rare exception that does not mandate that every citizen have insurance.
When asked, he had criticisms for both Hillary and Obama's health plans, saying they failed on 3 of 5 points he suggests. He made no comment on any of John McCain's positions. However, I talked with him afterwards and he did support my position of dropping the tax breaks for employer provided health care. I think McCain also supports this position, and proposes a tax credit for buying personal coverage.