Dutch, Swiss Health Care Systems Have Problems

Armen Hareyan's picture

The U.S., a "nation prone to love at first sight with seductive healthcare fixes, is now falling for the systems of the Netherlands andSwitzerland," but "let's be careful ... before we latch on" to thosesystems, Regina Herzlinger, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writes in a Wall Street Journalopinion piece. Herzlinger writes that both systems "share one terrificfeature -- universal coverage." In addition, she writes, the "sick inboth countries can afford to buy health insurance and also pay the sameprice," and private health insurers "compete in the market because theyare paid more for sick enrollees through various risk-adjustmentsystems."

However, "the devil is in the details," Herzlingerwrites. According to Herzlinger, the Dutch and Swiss "governments'micromanagement of the prices of insurers and providers" discouragesinnovation and "should be avoided, not emulated." She concludes,"Instead, government should help lower-income people, enforcetransparency, prosecute fraud and abuse -- but otherwise get out of theway" (Herzlinger, Wall Street Journal, 11/19).

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