The Blog

Let's Go Dutch

8:00 AM, Aug 18, 2009 • By STANLEY GOLDFARB
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The OECD has polled Europeans who regularly utilize health care about their satisfaction with their healthcare system. In 2003, 45.2% of the respondents in 15 nations in the European Union expressed dissatisfaction. While similar numbers of patients express dissatisfaction with the United States system, are we willing to embark on an experiment with a potential outcome to create a system that not only leaves us pretty much at a similar degree of satisfaction but one that has angered and polarized our entire nation? Can't we wait to see how the Massachussetts plan turns out before we commit the whole nation to a similar approach? Can't we learn from countries like the Netherlands where competition, incentives, and privatization are seen as the means to efficiency and high patient satisfaction?

Stanley Goldfarb MD is associate dean of clinical education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a nephrologist.