In what way does the book corroborate or refute knowledge you have gleaned from previous experiences or study?
To me the book and the video are real eye-openers. Prior to this I had a vague idea of the inefficiencies inherent in the American healthcare system. But I was not privy to the extent, scale and implications of the situation. I now understand that close to 20% of the American population has no health insurance coverage whatsoever. I believe this is quite a shame for the most prosperous and powerful country in the world. My exposure to alternative healthcare models in the form of Germany, Switzerland, Japan, etc, has offered me new perspectives for thinking about healthcare dispensation. Through reading the novel I was disabused of my misconceptions about private health insurance. I believed that the free-market competition among various insurers would pull down the premiums to the least possible. But the fact that healthcare providers negotiate how much they charge for various standardized procedures undermines the free-market effect.
If you were to tell a colleague about these resources, what would you communicate, and why?
I would tell my colleagues to peruse the two works for gaining an in-depth understanding of the American healthcare system. By viewing the video, especially, they would get a comparative perspective on leading healthcare systems across the globe. The alternative healthcare models that they would be exposed to would make them think about their own professions and the commercial arrangements within them in new light. The other major reason why I would encourage my colleagues to peruse these resources is one of social responsibility. As healthcare professionals we all take the Hippocratic oath to serve the patients in a fair and expedient manner. As healthcare professionals it is a breach of that oath to turn a blind eye to the millions of Americans who are uninsured (and thereby denied healthcare). Our duty does not begin and end within the premises of the hospital but extends to the larger community. It is for broadening the scope and responsibility of our profession that I would urge my fellow practitioners to read and watch the two works in question.
In conclusion, both the novel and the documentary video have helped me in widening my horizons. It has made me see healthcare from the point of view of the weaker sections of the population. Previously I was focused on developing my career and bothered only about gathering certifications and work experience. But now my goals have become more inclusive. I have come to think of my practice in an integrated communitarian way. I am also motivated to set up interactive platforms where patients and healthcare providers can negotiate and agree upon mutually beneficial commercial arrangements. I am quite impressed with the success of nationalized healthcare management in other capitalist economies. It is my hope that through active public organization and dialogue with the political class this goal can be realized in the United States one day.
Sick Around the World: Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a health care system? PBS Documentary, video accessed from <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/> on 1st October, 2013.
Richard E. McDermott & Kevin D. Stocks, The Eleventh Hour: A Tale of Compassion, Service, Power, and Politics. Published in 2005 by Traemus Books. U.S.A.