WAKAYAMA, Japan -- About 18 months ago, I moved from Brooklyn with my wife and two children to her hometown in Wakayama Prefecture. While I was familiar with the country and spoke the language fairly well, I knew it would be a big adjustment to live here permanently. What I didn't anticipate was how much our lives would improve due to Japan's national health care system.
I first became aware that something wasn't right with American health care as a child. When I was nine, my father was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma cancer. He died when I was 12. Parallel to his struggle with the disease was my mother's battle with the insurance companies over hospital bills. For me, health care has always been a fight.