Sally Pipes writes:
President Obama’s healthcare reform package shares some elements of Switzerland’s system, Santésuisse. And it’s tempting to see Switzerland as worthy of imitation — what with its 99 percent coverage rate and life expectancy that’s second only to Japan.
But Obamacare rejects the best ideas the Swiss have to offer — and adopts the worst. Consequently, the president’s healthcare law will not yield the Swiss-style levels of coverage its cheerleaders lust after. …
Some elements of Santésuisse would prove beneficial if implemented in the United States. But Obamacare chose the wrong ones. Indeed, it appears that the lessons from Switzerland’s healthcare system have thus far been lost in translation.
via Obamacare Adapts The Worst Of Swisscare, Rejects The Best – Forbes.
The Swiss health care system [gated, but with abstract] has attracted interest from many conservatives because insurance there is mainly private, long-term, and personal and portable. By some estimates it also is the most egalitarian health system in the world. What is less well understood is that when the Swiss replaced mixed government and private financing of health care with mandatory health insurance in 1994, the resultant cost cutting efforts both damaged quality and introduced a lot of waste into the Swiss system.
In 2002, the government banned all new medical practices to control costs. The ban runs until 2010. Until then, a new physician cannot open a practice unless an old physician retires or dies. Efforts to save money by merging hospitals have created irrational allocations of specialty units. Alphonse Crespo, a Swiss orthopedic surgeon, reports that resources are now so poorly distributed that “because of the mergers, the distances between specialty units in some cantons are large.” Patients needing a urologist may have to go to another hospital. Patients have actually been put in helicopters just for a consultation. Researchers at the University of Lausanne report difficulties in accessing psychiatric care, rehabilitation care, long-term care, and orthopedic care.