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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

International Health Policy

Amy in Africa (Part 2)

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, our Executive Director, is in Africa visiting hospitals in Tanzania and Uganda to learn about the health care systems in these countries. You can read her first dispatch here. Below is her latest update: Read more »

Ich Bin Ein Health Minister

This morning the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum hosted a forum entitled “What Can Massachusetts Learn from the German Health Care System?” Philip Johnston, Chairman of the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum, moderated the event. The majority of the program consisted of a dialogue between Uwe Reinhardt, Princeton University professor of political economy, economics and public affairs and Ulla Schmidt, the German Federal Minister of Health. Germany instituted a series of health care reforms starting in the late 1990’s, the most recent in 2007. Previously, all individuals below a certain... Read more »

Sick Around the World -- Must-See

Have you seen this past week's Frontline documentary, "Sick Around the World: Can the US Learn Anything From the Rest of the World About How to Run a Health Care System"? If you haven't, consider yourself urged to go the the PBS website and view it online -- click here. Fantastic capsule looks at the health care systems in Britain, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland. It's a challenge to many folks on both the right and left in the US. To folks on the right -- why is it that other diverse nations can cover everyone for far less cost, use more services, and maintain higher levels of... Read more »

Seeking a Health System that Could Work

This looks like it could be really good. The PBS series, FRONTLINE will present SICK AROUND THE WORLD on Tuesday, April 15, 2008, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS. Here's part of the release: Read more »

Come to Jamaica and Feel Alright

From the Associated Press KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Jamaica says it has successfully launched free health care for all adults in public hospitals across the Caribbean country, making good on an election promise by Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Health Minister Rudyard Spencer said Wednesday the abolition of user fees at hospitals was going smoothly this week, with patients forming orderly lines while waiting to be seen by health care staff. Hospital fees for adults were abolished Tuesday. The government last May extended free public health services to all Jamaican children. A proposed 2008 budget... Read more »

Canadians Move on Patient Adverse Event Disclosure -- Mull Apology

Canada's Globe and Mail reports this week on the Canadian Patient Safety Institute’s new guidelines for disclosing medical errors to patients -- click here. The guidelines encourage health-care workers to break news to patients within a day or two of discovering an adverse event. There's controversy over whether or how caregivers should apologize. Read more »

Poll: Republicans Think US Health System Is the Best; Dems/Indies Disagree

Every once in a while, a piece of survey research appears that is so "spot on" it blows my mind. That was my reac when I saw the new Bob Blendon survey on partisan differences in opinions about how good the US health care system is. Click here for the report. Bottom line: Read more »

Think We Have Problems? Welcome to Turkmenistan...

From BBC News: Turkmenistan's president has announced incentives to reward women who give birth to eight or more children, according to state media. Those who qualify for Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's reward will receive a one-off payment of $250 (£125). They will also get lifetime benefits such as free dental care, utilities and public transport. There was a large increase in child mortality under the autocratic former President Saparmurat Niyazov. Under Mr Niyazov's rule, the health system declined dramatically. Free health care was abolished, all hospitals outside the capital were closed,... Read more »

Rising Health Costs Are a Global Problem

Health Populi discusses "The Global Epidemic of Rising Health Costs." The benefits consulting group [Watson Wyatt] found that health cost increases are growing faster than rates of inflation in 80% of countries surveyed. Thus, hyperinflation of health costs isn't just an American malaise, but a problem for most economically developed countries. Watson Wyatt discovered that the factors that drive health spending up in the U.S. are the same things that increase spending elsewhere: medical technology, increased utilization of health services, and the aging of the population. Aging's significant... Read more »

Startling Results: US vs. European Rates of Chronic Disease

This is amazing...New study by Ken Thorpe of Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University comparing US and European rates of chronic disease (summary from Kaiser Daily Report): Older U.S. adults are twice as likely as older European adults to have a number of chronic diseases, many of which are related to obesity and smoking, according to a study published Tuesday on the Web site of the journal Health Affairs... For the study, researchers from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University examined information from 2004 on the treatment of chronic diseases among adults ages 50... Read more »

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