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December 03, 2007

A Tale Of Two Health Care Systems


People in the Netherlands have an innovative new health care system which requires insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of their medical history. It relies on competition between firms to drive costs down, and some policy makers here are touting the Dutch system as a model for health care reform in the U.S. 

Today Dick Gordon speaks with two men who have Lyme disease - one lives in Amsterdam and the other in the U.S. Their stories highlight how the same disease can receive such disparate support and treatment.

Chris Chambers began developing flu-like symptoms after a walk in the woods. Months went by before he was diagnosed. His health care plan covers many different treatment options, including some dubious ones, such as going through a vibrating machine.

Tom Hock lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. Tom is insured through his employer. But like many people suffering with a chronic illness, Tom worried constantly about losing his job, for fear that his "pre-existing condition" would prevent him from getting a new health plan. 

The two men share the similarities and differences in how their health care systems have impacted their treatments - and their pocketbooks.



Leda Scearce's husband convinced her to send Dick a note about her life story. Leda used to be an opera singer - until the day she began having severe allergy attacks. She tried everything - washing hotel bedding in hot water, air purification systems - but the life of a professional opera singer became impossible. Leda soon found her new calling - helping other singers who are dealing with vocal issues.

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