Karen Davis on Health Care Solutions Abroad

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<p>A growing number of health care stakeholders are recommending that we look across the Atlantic to explore the health systems in countries that cover all of their citizens. In a new column, <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=30719&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Faboutus%2Faboutus%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D597055%26%23doc597055">Health Care Solutions Without Borders,</a> Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis highlights the findings of The Commonwealth Fund's recently released 2007 International Health Policy Survey, which shows that we have much to learn from such countries on issues of affordability, safety, and access to care.<br><br>The survey found, for example, that financial barriers prevent many U.S. adults from getting the care they need. Thirty-seven percent of all U.S. adults surveyed skipped medications, did not see a doctor when sick, or did not obtain recommended care because they could not afford it. By contrast, only 5 percent of adults in the Netherlands and 8 percent in the U.K. reported problems accessing care due to costs.<Br><br>In her new column, Davis outlines how universal coverage is achieved in those countries. For example, she notes that as of last January, all residents and taxpayers in the Netherlands have been required by law to purchase private health insurance.<br><bR>"Rather than caricature the health systems in other nations, we should evaluate their strengths and shortcomings," Davis writes, "and use that knowledge to create a high-performing health system in the United States."</p>