The national health care bruhaha has reached into ads on MNF.
The following bit of corporate image burnishing from IBM [:31] boasts of potential data efficiencies that reformers believe would drive down costs.
In a radio interview with NPR's Terry Gross, I recently heard T. R. Reid, author of The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, patiently explain that the French universal coverage system already incorporates these technological marvels, in addition to covering everyone for less than half the cost of our system. The French all carry a card with an embedded chip that allows any doctor to access their complete medical history and update it with any new diagnosis or treatments. Obviously this is cheaper and simpler than our tangle of records that don't mesh to each other.
And very likely, many people in the United States, after years of living in terror that insurance companies would raise their rates or cancel them because they got sick, would object mightily to implementing such a system. Proposals for integrated medical records would raise cries of "socialism" or maybe "fascism." Or, in the present style, both.
Another MNF ad urged patients to visit a Health and Human Services website to learn what sort of questions they should ask their doctors in order to get better medical care.
I thought this ad (and there are other variants) was rather well done. Unfortunately the website to which it directs people, here, is not up to the sophistication of the ad -- and confusing. If you actually wanted to know what you should ask you doctor, the HHS list is here.