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links for 2011-07-07

  • Quote:"You see? National health care works great… so long as you're rich enough to afford the premium level of government insurance and to buy multiple additional private policies; so long as you have influential relatives; and so long as you're willing and able to brazenly bribe the doctors and bureaucrats who run the system.

    "I am so glad we live in Japan," Mom said. "I worry about you in America, with no national health care!" Thanks, Mom, but I'm afraid "help" is on the way from President Barack H. Obama.

    Are you looking forward to it as eagerly as I?

    // Read the whole thing. In the end, the conclusion I come to in regard to Japanese single payer healthcare is: don't get sick. If you have a population where the obesity leve is 3% (not 30%) and people eat healthy, socialized healthcare isn't too bad. Until you get sick.

  • Quote:"The average costs (tuition, fees, and living expenses) for a year of higher education in 1986 were 1.4 million Yen, of which parents paid a little less than 80%, or about 20% of the average family's income in 1986. To help defray expenses, students frequently work part-time or borrow money through the government-supported Japan Scholarship Association. Assistance also is offered by local governments, nonprofit corporations, and other institutions.

    // Like usual, the answer to why Japan has so many doctors and has increased their number per capita (see previous bookmark) is a complex. Japanese students pay 80% of their education costs out of pocket. So the liberal solutions aren't necessarily the cause of why Japan can afford to have (at least for now) a tightly regulated universal healthcare system. Just guessing, but there is probably a cultural element not applicable to the United States.

  • Quote:"In Japan, services are provided either through regional/national public hospitals or through private hospitals/clinics, and patients have universal access to any facility, though hospitals tend to charge higher for those without a referral. Cost in Japan tends to be quite low compared to other developed countries, but utilization is much higher. This is achieved principally through tight regulation of the price of every medical service. Japan has about three times as many hospitals per capita as the United States

    // I would be really interesting in how this has happened. Also Japa has steadily increased the number of physicians per capita since the 1970's. How this is accomplished, I don't know, but I'm very curious.

  • Quote:"To keep costs down, Japan has made tradeoffs in other areas — sometimes to the detriment of patients. Some are merely irritating, such as routine hour-long waits before doctor appointments. But others involve worrisome questions about quality control and gaps in treatment for urgent care.

    Japanese hospitals experience a "crowding out" effect, with space for emergency care and serious medical conditions sometimes overwhelmed by a flood of patients seeking routine treatment, said Naohiro Yashiro, a professor of economics and health-care expert at International Christian University in Tokyo.

    "Patients are treated too equally," he said. "Beds are occupied by less-urgent cases, and there are no penalties for those who over-use the system."

    // We could a learn a lot from Japan's system, but there are big problems. Not differentiating between urgent and routine care (triage), their system does not encourage innovation, and it's unsustainable with an older population.

  • Quote:"In 1983, the lowest-paid workers were more likely to work long hours, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. But by 2002, the most highly paid workers were twice as likely to work long hours as the lowest paid.

    // This trend has been going on a long time. In a way, it makes sense to work your most valuable assets more than your less valuable ones. except, you don't want burnout and you do want to develop talent. I think that is business' primary failure right now, for the most part they fail to develop talent.

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