FIFTY YEARS & COUNTING-Universal healthcare turns 50 in Japan

Congress is about to return to D.C. and the renewed assault on health reform will kick-in.  The public will be told that struggling American households and businesses cannot afford health reform.  In fact, long before health reform legislation is implemented in its totality it will be blamed for the poor economy.  

While pundits sound off, the informed voices of reason get drowned out.  The story of Japan's successful experience with universal healthcare will not be part of the conversation.  For a good summary of Japan's experience, visit The Lancet.  

An excerpt:   "At the centre of Japan's approach has been the constitutionally enshrined objective of universality in health care, translated into practice by universal access. Equality is emphasized  in society at large, with the result that Japan has performed well on social determinants of health. However, the financial and social underpinnings of health care in Japan are now under threat from economic stagnation, which has widened social divisions. As inequalities increase, social determinants of health will likely deteriorate, leading to poorer population health and greater demand for services. Combined with rising health-care costs and an ageing population, Japanese doctors—like those elsewhere—worry about the sustainability of universal access under such pressures."

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