The Healing Of America by T R Reid

I listened to T R Reid talk about this book on NPR as I drove back from the panhandle last Monday. He seemed a pretty interesting person and had a folksy engaging style that focused on healthcare systems around the world. In essence what he said was the main element that prevents the US from having affordable healthcare is profit. Almost the entire non-government run system is profit driven. When you think about it, our healthcare reflects our national culture’s history…..The business of America is now, and always has been, business. No other industrialized nation has the profit issue in their system and no one else has the mal practice premiums our doctors have to carry. In most other countries doctors education is free, hospitals don’t make profits and neither do private insurance companies. But there is a more basic issue that screams to be addressed which I will come to presently.


I read the book, it was not as engaging as his interview, I was looking to find answers and proposals, and instead what I found was comparative analysis, which gets more than a little boring. It is sometimes interesting what some countries have in place. France for example, has a medical ID Card that carries all individual medical records on it. A patient walks in and hands the card to a doctor who puts it in a scanner and the entire medical history is available…….the carte vitale vastly reduces administrative overhead and costs.


Overall the book is too rambling and not graphic enough to use as good concise data. Reid does hit on what I think is the fundamental disconnect with our national debate which is to say that the debate is putting the cart before the horse. In all other democratic industrialized nations, before enacting whichever form of universal coverage they have now, they had a national debate on the ethics of healthcare. He concludes in chapter 12 The First Question…..”What are our basic ethical values? Do we believe that every American has a right to health care when he needs it? After that question is resolved we can move on to designing a health care system that works for all Americans. When we get to that stage we can draw on a world of ideas and experience—–all the lessons we’ve learned from health care systems in other industrialized democracies.”


I agree. To effect universal change there must be consensus from the people, clearly we don’t have that today.


Here is another review for consideration.


6 Responses

  1. > What are our basic ethical values?

    Didn’t you already answer this in the early part of the post?

  2. Didn’t you already answer this in the early part of the post?

    No I don’t think profit excludes dialog on ethics. There is such a thing s ethical profit. You work for profit correct.

    T R Reid sees profit as a deal breaker ….not me.

  3. PT, I do not work for “profit” because I do not own a business. I am paid a wage, but that is not “profit.”

    As for “ethical profit”, you are going down the road of the early Christian Church, which had to come up with concepts like “just war” to overcome the problem of literal inconsistency with what Jesus taught.

    Can you name me one country which, at the time, believed it’s war was “unjust”? Even Hitler believed his war just because of what happened at the end of WW1.

    I do NOT believe in “ethical” profit. I believe in all the profit a business can get.

  4. “I do NOT believe in “ethical” profit. I believe in all the profit a business can get.”

    How is that different from the CEO’s who are taking huge salaries while companies underperform? lol seems like almost everyone on Wall street agrees with you.

    There are still examples of the servant leader in the business community but they are dwindling I fear.

    You have one in Tallahassee, but he was just denied, a temporary spot on City Council. Jim Apthorp!

  5. Well PT… those CEO salaries are an example of how the theory of investors “owning” the company is very hollow because how is it that those CEO’s are getting away with those salaries? (Rhetorical question only.)

    > Jim Apthorp!

    And how is it you know him? I didn’t know he was being considered. Never heard of him. But your description probably explains why he wasn’t appointed….

    Next time you’re in this area, try to stop by if you can swing doing it on a Saturday. There’s a fine “country buffet” here that just opened up. Was part of the Farmer’s Market restaurant in Thomasville. Split from them and opened up as Seminole Wind (I don’t like that last part in a restaurant name…lol!) in T’ville. Tallahassee branch just opened.

    They have about two carts of veggies, including okra & tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, you name it. Then, fried chicken, meatloaf, sausage & onions, catfish (but no mullet), etc.

    Their “signature” item is a Godzilla size cinnamon roll. You can take one home for free, but if you want more than one to take, it’s $1 each.

  6. You know pt, regardless of how often I disagree with you (which you may have noticed is pretty often) I have to admire your commitment to research, to at least trying to ferret out the “truth” of an issue. It is your effort that I admire, and not necessarily the result. The thing is that I am suspicious of “truth”, because you can never separate “facts” (and what are those anyway?) from your perception of said supposed facts.
    Anarchist, thanks for the plug for Seminole Wind–I wondered. You had me from “fried green tomatoes”, which is one of my favorite foods. I’ve done extensive research on the subject 🙂 Along the lines of the research I did in New Orleans for the best bread pudding and the best gumbo. So far in Tallahassee, Harry’s Seafood Restuarant is the winner for fried green tomatoes. Sort of an interesting variant, but still shockingly good. The tomatoes are perfectly green, not verging on ripeness. Perfectly battered and fried on the spot, then topped with Feta cheese and aioli. Sorry pt, to divert attention from your point into food :0 But Anarchist started it!

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