There are many factors that influence the general health of the public in a country. The kind of health care system that a country has for its citizens is one such factor as it has a direct influence on the delivery of health care services and its affordability. A simple definition of a healthcare system is a complex of amenities, organizations, and skilled workforce who are involved in the provision of health care to people within a particular geographical area e.g. in a country or state. (Business Dictionary.com). It can also be a structured arrangement of health services by which health care is made accessible to the citizens of a country and this provision is funded by either the government or the private sector. (Answers.com).
In a society, there are always the less fortunate financially and there are some basic services that they may not afford. Even though we have a capitalist economy, I don’t think this should be an excuse for the government to completely neglect the poor by having systems that don’t take care of their basic needs. There are different kinds of healthcare systems that can be applied by a country for its citizens.
Universal Coverage is also known by other names like universal health care, single-payer system, united health care system, or national health care. It is a national or statewide health care system whereby everyone is covered either by a private or public health care plan and this is irrespective of whether they are employed or not and whether they are able to pay or not. (Health Glossary). I think this is the kind of health care system that should be used in the US.
This is because the present system leaves out a big group of American citizens without any kind of healthcare coverage. Even though some people may argue that provision of healthcare by the government for its citizens is some kind of socialism, I don’t think this kind of argument can really fit in this kind of situation because basically, it is the citizens who will still be paying for the care through their taxes.
There are some factors that make me feel it would be best for the US and any other country that can afford it to implement a Universal Healthcare system. Almost all the industrialized countries use the universal health care system including the United Kingdom except the United States, which has a blend of many different healthcare plans for its citizens. In the united kingdom, there is the national health service which was put up in 1948 to ensure the availability of free healthcare to all those residing in the united kingdom. The United States on the other hand does not have a free for all kind of medical care for the citizens. In the United Kingdom, free healthcare is financed through general taxation and is managed by the Health Department. (Action Network).
Despite the presence of the national health service in the United Kingdom, there are still private health providers and the citizens have to pay when they go to them. These private healthcare providers are also useful since the local branches of the NHS use them for outsourcing when there is medical work to be done after their usual working hours. The NHS in the UK has local branches which are concerned with making important decisions about the local healthcare for the people in their areas but the major strategies are carried out by the Health Department.
In the UK there are primary health services availed by the local NHS organizations i.e. the primary care trusts. These are responsible for the usual services e.g. dentists, opticians, and surgeries. The other services like ambulance, mental health services, are catered for by the secondary care services managed by other NHS trusts. (Well mark Blues)
On the other hand, according to a study done to give an overview of the US medical care system carried out by Kao-Ping Chua and Jack Rutledge Fellow in 2006, it is shown that in the United States, there are public health insurance and private health insurance.
Under public health insurance, there is Medicare which is a federal program covering people over 65 years and some disabled people. It’s a single-payer system and run by the government with funds from the federal income taxes, payroll tax contributed to by employers and employees, and premiums from those to be covered. It has partial coverage for skilled nursing facilities and preventive care coverage and the seniors still pay 22% of their income for healthcare. (Kao-Ping C., Rutledge J.)
The Medicaid is differently provided by all the states for the poor and the handicapped, poor expectant mothers, children, the old, and parents. It does not cater for the adults without children some poor people who with too much income to be covered by it. The states and the District of Columbia which administer it have the autonomy to adjust the income eligibility level. It is funded by the states and the federal government contributing 57% of its costs.
The other public systems available are the S-CHIP that caters to those left out by Medicaid. Its funding and administration are like that for Medicaid. The VA is run by the federal government and meant for veterans of the military, and is almost free. Under Private Health Insurance there is employer-sponsored insurance run by private companies both for-profit and not-for-profit. Some companies have self-insurance for their employees.
Its funds come from premiums by employers and employees. The Private non-group (individual market) caters to the self-employed, retired, and those not insured at work. It is run by private insurance companies with the funds from the premiums paid by the individuals. (Samuel D., PharmD). Looking at the US healthcare system, you cannot fail to notice that there are a number of loopholes that make the system inefficient in one way or the other. It is a system that can only take care of someone with a well-paying job or in a high-income bracket. This is because the kind of care one receives is dependent on the amount of insurance they can take or the amount paid by their employers and this depends on their salary.
For the UK residents, there are also the Foundations trusts which are not controlled by the NHS, they have self-running hospitals with financial flexibility and services tailored to match the needs of the owning local communities. The UK also has private health insurance which caters to private health care. Secondary care for the hospitalized, mental health care, and care for the elderly is also provided mainly by the private sector. (BBC Action network).
Generally, there are great differences between the medical care systems in the two countries and the American system has proved to cost much more than the UK system. Studies have shown that the American system despite not covering a staggering 16%-18% of the population still costs as much as more than 40% more than the systems of other industrialized nations.
The United States may be having some of the most technologically advanced medical care facilities compared to any industrialized country, Britain included, but it still lags behind in many of the parameters which may be used to evaluate the efficiency of a country’s medical care system. Some of these parameters are child mortality rate, life expectancy, and obesity rate. According to the OECD Health Data 2005: how does the United States compare”, among the OECD countries the United States ranked very poorly as compared to the UK.
Perhaps this goes to show how more efficient or inefficient either of the systems could be. Also considering that the universal health care coverage would cost much less than the current system used by the US, I think this is the more reason it should be adopted. The citizens would pay less for it and it would accommodate more people, basically all Americans without any income discrimination.
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