Dutch Health Care System Could Be Model for U.S.
As the debate continues over how to expand health coverage to 47 million uninsured U.S. residents and "rein in the cost of care, by far the highest in the world, it seems clear that the Dutch experiment" with health care reform "is well worth watching," Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, writes in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor.
The letter is in response to a Sept. 6 Journal article examining the Netherlands' health care system.
According to Davis, the "most intriguing aspect of the Dutch health care system is its establishment of a risk-equalization fund that pays insurers more if they enroll people with health problems."
She continues, "Such a system could potentially deter insurers from competing with each other to avoid sick people, a problem that plagues the U.S. individual insurance market and often renders coverage inaccessible to those who need it most."
The Dutch system is "[f]ar from socialized medicine," but it "nonetheless depends on government to ensure market functioning, for example by setting standard health benefits," providing information on cost and quality of services, and providing subsidies for low-income residents and those with chronic conditions, Davis writes.
She says that a "public-private health care system won't work without this national commitment" (Davis, Wall Street Journal, 9/15).