The New York Times reports this morning that HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt will soon be traveling to Switzerland and the Netherlands to see first-hand how those countries' health-care systems--which achieve universal coverage through, more or less, a mandate-and-subsidize approach similar to the one proposed in the Senate by Ron Wyden and Bob Bennett--actually function in practice. The trip sure sounds like it will be useful: 

The event is meant to dispel the myth that every nation that provides universal health care does so through government-run systems.

Thank God we're finally going to clear up all that confusion! Particularly since there are so few easily accessible books or articles written on the subject. (Incidentally, is there any organization that's done more to perpetuate this "myth" than, you know, the Bush administration itself?  Okay, maybe the Giuliani campaign.) But, for those of you worried that this might mean that the administration has some interest in actually reforming the American health-care system, fear not:

The trip is not a sign, however, that the Bush administration is considering major health initiatives, officials said.

Well, hopefully Leavitt will at least have an enjoyable time on his taxpayer-financed, non-policy-informing jaunt through Western Europe.

--Josh Patashnik