The Swiss Model

As Paul Krugman says in today’s column, if you actually want to analogize Barack Obama’s health care plans to something the best country to look at is probably Switzerland which has a pretty similar system. There’s no crazy socialism there, nothing horrible happens. One should say that by the same token from my point of view there’s nothing particularly great about the Swiss system. It’s basically like American health care if you patched up some of the very worst aspects.

This is the sad reality that’s gotten neglected in the sturm und drang of the health debate. What’s being proposed is really quite moderate. You could imagine a world of go-for-broke reform in which you ran the risk of something terrible happening in order to achieve the possibility of something great happening. But that’s not what’s on the table. Instead, we’re looking at some tweaks with real-but-modest upside and no real downside. And yet to listen to cable news you’d think it was the end of the world.