THE BLOG
11/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Switzerland's Health Insurance Providers are Non-Profit : That is the Only Reason Their System Works, Period.

I won't even get into what the health care debate looks like from here in Switzerland. In Switzerland (and the UK, France, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, you name 'em), even right wing, and the far right wing politician dare not question health care as a basic right. No one questions the idea that every citizen, every human being, is entitled to health care the way they are entitled to air, or water.

I won't get into Europe's far better health outcomes and longer life expectancies, nor their lower costs delivering undeniably, and statistically, better service to greater parts of their populations.

And I wont get into how universal health care is an economic necessity if we wish to continue to compete, no less kick ass, and profit globally this decade, and in this century,

Nor will I go into health care being a national security issue. (For what army of heart diseased, diabetic, tooth decayed, obese poor people will be able to protect us, or instill fear in our enemies?)

So I won't get into the obvious. I did however want to remind you that the Swiss system of mandatory health insurance only works because health insurers are forbidden to make a profit on basic health insurance coverage!

But don't worry. Our insurance companies are in quite healthy (ha, ha) financial shape. Really.

Everyone in Switzerland carries two government mandated policies - 1. personal everyday medical health insurance ( with lots of choice regarding add ons and deductible), subsidized by the government for those in need, and - 2. accident medical insurance, half paid for by one's employer, half paid for by employee, or when necessary the state. (This is a relatively inexpensive subsidy for a country with unimaginably low unemployment).

That health insurance is competitive and non profit is built into this very capitalist and working Swiss system, a system that believes no one should go bankrupt and lose their home because of family medical bills, that no one should delay critical medical and preventive care, and lose even their health because they are uninsured, and that no one should lose their life because an insurer denied coverage due to any pre existing condition. This is a competitive capitalist system that says no one should go without health care if they need it.

Certainly not in one of the richest, if not the richest country in the world.

The Swiss have a pragmatic system that is cunning because it embraces the reality that health insurers have to have their profit incentive removed if the health insurance system is to work for the people at all.

Aren't we at least as cunning as the Swiss?

If we aren't at least as caring as the Swiss?