Sicko (Due Diligence)

Even though I really disliked the movie, I have been thinking a lot about the health care mess we are in.

So like Michael Moore, I decided to talk to some Canadians. I had the opportunity to have dinner with three of them last night although it’s hard to call Howard a Canadian.

I asked them if they liked their health care system. They all said yes, very much, particularly for the day to day needs and common procedures like childbirth. However, they also told me the system breaks down when you get really sick. There’s just not enough money for treating terminal diseases and so they "just let you die".

I also had a great email discussion with Fraser‘s brother David on the topic. David’s a doctor in Canada. A worthwhile perspective to get for sure. David points out that:

part of the reason the US is so innovative is because your system is designed for it.  as a VC, i think a single payer system would kill your VC friends in health/biotech.

quick point – canada has only ONE dedicated venture firm for healthcare ventures, and it is very early stage.  contrast that with the dozens in the US.  i worked with a health start-up, until we realized we have only one customer in the entire country – the government – which by all metrics is among the slowest and cheapest purchaser of health IT/pharma in the developed world.

These are good and useful perspectives. My take is we need "universal healthcare" in this country. Not socialized medicine and not nationalized healthcare. I am not a fan of a single payer system. But I am in favor of covering everyone, at least for day to day needs and also for providing some form of catastrophic insurance to everyone. I don’t honestly know how to do that part affordably. The issues Canada has are the same issues we have in this country for anyone who doesn’t have the means to pay for catastrophic care.

Howard asked me about the mexicans who come across the border illegally in his hometown of Phoenix and fill up the hospitals and schools. That’s an immigration issue more than a health care issue, but my take on that if they are working and being a productive member of our society, admit them, tax them, and bring them into the system.

I don’t mean to imply that these are easy issues. They are not. But they are going to be hot button issues in our next election. And so we should be discussing, debating, and doing our diligence so we can make informed and correct choices.