Kent Conrad on Healthcare

| Thu Sep. 24, 2009 11:40 AM EDT

This quote from Kent Conrad made the rounds of the blogosphere yesterday:

Let me just conclude for my progressive friends who believe that the only answer to getting costs under control and having universal coverage is by a government-run program. I urge my colleagues to read the book by T.R. Reid, "The Healing of America."

I had the chance to read it this weekend. He looks at the health-care systems around the world. And what he found is in many countries they have universal coverage. They contain costs effectively. They have high-quality outcomes, in fact higher than ours. They're not government-run systems in Germany, in Japan, in Switzerland, in France, in Belgium — all of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high quality care and yet are not government-run systems.

This has been sort of rattling around in my head ever since I saw it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what I wanted to say about it.  But then I figured it out: it's completely, 100% batshit crazy.  I mean, is this actually breaking news to Conrad after (excuse me a moment while I google) 22 years in the Senate?  WTF?

Believe me: Conrad's "progressive friends" would be punch drunk with ecstacy if the United States adopted the healthcare system of (take your pick) Japan, France or Germany.  It would be beyond our wildest dreams.  Does Conrad really not know this?  Did he only find out this weekend that those other countries have terrific healthcare systems that contain costs, provide universal coverage, and boast very high-quality care?  What's going on?

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