We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Sunday, September 1, 2013

What Say?

The Huffington Post has a posting entitled, "The Most Efficient Health Care Systems in the World," which makes the point that of 46 nations surveyed the United States ranked 45th in "life expectancy (weighted 60%), relative per capita cost of health care (30%); and absolute per capita cost of health care (10%)."  The posting cites a Bloomberg table (here) as its source, and what is particularly noteworthy to me as a former resident of Thailand is that Thailand is ranked 22nd among the nations surveyed in the effectiveness of its health care system.  Thailand ranks 1st in terms of the absolute cost of health care per person ($202/person compared to $8,608/person in the U.S.) and third in health-care cost as a percentage of GDP per capita (3.7% of GDP compared to 17.2% for the U.S., by far the highest percentage of the countries surveyed).

Thailand is a great place to live, but it is not noted for governmental efficiency.  It has a national government that many here would consider to be the very essence of "big government."  Corruption remains a serious problem.  Still, in the past the Thai government has taken steps to see that all of its citizens receive affordable health care, perhaps not always of top quality but still available.  Those efforts have apparently paid off, and it should give Americans pause.  Our health care system is incredibly expensive and hard to access for lower income folks, which facts have negative repercussions for all of us.  If Thailand and numerous other countries around the world can figure this out, why can't we?