Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quick Observations on Healthcare in the Caribbean

I've been on a great vacation cruise in the Caribbean these past few weeks aboard the Island Princess cruise ship. We visited Aruba, Cartegena, Panama, and Costa Rica along the way. In each port our guide gave us a high level overview of their country, their customs, the sites, and more. In each country the guides mentioned that they had 'free' healthcare for all their citizens - paid for out of their taxes. They seemed to take great pride in this and made the point that they knew this was not the case in the U.S.  The British, Canadian, Dutch, and fellow travelers from other countries all nodded their heads approvingly. My fellow American passengers were silent and seemed happy to move onto the next topic. It was just one of those strange moments that stood out in my mind that I felt like passing on as this wonderful vacation came to a close.

We are getting close to universal healthcare for all Americans, no matter how rich or poor. I personally hope to see that day arrive in my lifetime. I think we can do better. I think we can achieve what all these other countries have done and much more. I just think when it finally happens it will have a unique American twist to the solution - a solution that will contain a role for the private sector, encourages competition to treat patients, and increases financial compensation for those healthcare providers that provide the best care. I believe in America.

What do you think? Share your constructive comments on this issue.