Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

More on Health Care and Denmark | October 6, 2009

I just finished up a nice 2-hour lunch with my Danish buddy, Louise. She has been a very helpful friend during my first two weeks, offering me advice on how to get around Copenhagen and making herself available when I have questions. Today our conversation turned towards politics, the American health care system and climate change.

I hadn’t realized just how difficult it can be to explain American health care to a foreigner. Private insurance. Deductibles. Premiums. Employer-based coverage. How insurance companies  choose to insure or not to insure. How insurance companies can just drop coverage. Pre-existing conditions. Seventeen percent of GDP spent on health care only to provide the 37th best ranked care in the world. Fifty million people uninsured. Yea, I’d say we have a rather complex, rather broken system on our hands. Of course this was in contrast to the Danish system of single-payer health care: Everyone pays the tax, everyone gets the care. No muss, no fuss.

But then we started talking about medical innovation, and the trade-off that the Danes make with their system. Due to the high tax rates and the government-run program, there is no environment to speak of for developing medical innovations and breakthroughs. Most of that work gets done in the United States, where we have a system that provides ample incentive for pharma and biotech companies to develop new drugs, and for entrepreneurs to develop new medical devices.

There is no doubt that we need to make major changes to the health care system in America. We can’t afford to keep going the way we’re going. But we also need to be careful to protect the incentives that drive medical innovation which protects and extends life. The big question is how?


Posted in International

1 Comment »

  1. Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

    Comment by Savannah — October 17, 2009 @ 8:46 am

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