The film I would like to reflect on is Frontline:Sick around the world. I found this film very moving in a disturbing way. It makes me both sad and very nervous how much worse our healthcare seems to be. T.R. Reid is the man in the film performing the interviews and traveling all around the world to get people’s, professional or otherwise, perspective on healthcare. He visits the UK, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and Taiwan. All of these countries have capitalist healthcare plans. Which he says is a little “too much government” for American taste. There are no reports of medical bankruptcy, and denial of health insurance does not exist, in fact the insurance providers are not allowed to deny people coverage. Overall this film makes these healthcare plans seem much better than ours, they make it seem as if the US has some catching up to do, or a reform to plan.
The healthcare providers in Germany are mainly doctors. There are also many other forms of alternative medicine offered in Germany, like spas and homeopathic medicines. The doctors are either private practice doctors, that make up to 120,000 a year, or independent mostly non-profit hospitals, these doctors make up to 80,000 a year. The private practice doctors can act as gatekeepers and refer the patients to specialized or alternative care. Although the doctors in Germany feel undervalued and underpaid, medical school is free and the premium that must be paid every year is only 1/10th that of which US doctors have to pay.
The system works in a capitalist fashion. Everything is covered through health insurance, including dental, vision, inpatient care, and even alternative means such as spa treatments. Employers pay most of the care coverage and the other portion is paid by the employee. Even when the employee is unemployed, the coverage remains the same. This coverage is run like a private market, meaning the prices are set by the individual states, or Länder. The private doctors and hospitals are non-profit and can’t raise their prices. The people pay premiums based on their income that goes to one of several insurance companies, these funds are called “sickness funds”, or Krankenkassen. These sickness funds are what give the doctors competition. The more customers you have or the more satisfied your customers the more the sickness funds grow and the more your pay grows. The German style healthcare seems more efficient, more fair, and more stable. “The Germans have taken the profit out of healthcare and lowered the pay for doctors, there’s a lot here we need to catch up on”, says T.R. Reid at the end of the video, I don’t think it could be said any more perfectly.