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Do the Swiss Have the Answer to America's Health Care Dilemma?
Date:7/31/2009

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill., July 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the health care debate heating up in Washington, and with no apparent solution in sight, it has been suggested that America might want to take a page from the Swiss playbook.

In a nutshell:

  • Switzerland has a mandate requiring everyone to be covered by private insurance.
  • Poor people are subsidized as necessary to meet the mandate.
  • There is no employer-provided or government-managed coverage.
  • Sick persons pay the same price for health insurance as healthy persons in the same demographic category.

According to its proponents, the Swiss system results in health care which is comparable to that in the most affluent U.S. states, while its per capita health costs are 40 percent lower than in the U.S.

Switzerland currently has 80-plus separate health plans competing for business, from which Swiss citizens can freely choose. The government's primary (if not only) role is to subsidize lower-income people.

A primary advantage of such a consumer-controlled system, proponents say, is that it spreads risk across the full population spectrum, thereby lowering loss ratios and enabling lower premiums. It also keeps a proven health care delivery system in place, which government-controlled plans would necessarily disrupt.

Opponents to such a free market health idea argue that choosing the right medical insurance plan is too complicated for ordinary citizens to understand or navigate.

When asked, Vicki Rolens, managing director of the Federation of American Consumers and Travelers (FACT), says that the consumer association neither supports nor opposes the "Swiss Solution." "However," she says, "we do believe, when it comes to a matter as important as health care, that everyone should seriously consider all the
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SOURCE Federation of American Consumers and Travelers
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