Health Care Systems Across the Globe

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The Better the Health Care the Happier the People

Before reading the book The Healing of America by T.R. Reid, I was completely uneducated and unaware of the health care systems that other countries use all over the world. I had never really taken into consideration the millions of people in who have little or no health insurance at all and how much it effective them. Every country in the world devises its own set of arrangements for meeting the three basic goals of a health care system. These include keeping people healthy, treating the sick and protecting families against financial ruin from medical bills. There are four main models of health care systems that Reid describes in the book that include, the Bismarck model, Beveridge model, National Health Insurance model and the Out-of-Pocket model. These models define and reflect each nation’s health care system throughout the world. It is fairly simple for Americans to understand these basic models because the United States has elements from each of them in our own health care system.

The Bismark model is found in countries such as Germany, Japan, France, Belgium, Switzerland and somewhat in Latin America. This system dates back from the nineteenth century. The Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck invented this welfare state as part of the unification of Germany. In these countries, both health care payers and providers are private entities. This model insures everybody and does not make a profit. Instead, doctor’s offices and many hospitals are privately owned and operated. The insurers are called “sickness funds” which are usually financed jointly by employers and employees through payroll deduction. This tight regulation gives government much of the cost-control clout that the single-payer Beveridge Model provides.

The Beveridge model which muscled into existence over sixty years ago is still used today in countries including, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and most of Scandinavia. Lord Willaim Beveridge was an aristocratic social reformer who inspired Britain’s National Health Service. This arrangement gives universal coverage to everyone with no bills involved. The proposition is that they believe nobody should ever have to pay a medical bill. There is no insurance premium to pay, no co-payment with virtually no fee at all. Whether one suffers from a mild cold or one receives a quadruple bypass from the nation’s top cardiac surgeon, there are still no fees involved. The doctor’s bills of every single person are paid by the government. People go literally their entire lives without ever having to pay a single doctor or hospital bill. Although this might sound like the perfect plan, in reality, people of this country are still paying these fees, for they pay through a series of network taxes that would essentially make Americans cringe. The sales tax in the United Kingdom runs from 15 to 17.5 percent. The citizens do not only have to pay a high sales tax, but also pay by waiting in lines for care. Reid mentions in the book how he sometimes would have to wait weeks to see specialists for specific injuries. My roommate’s father lived in Britain for 2 years and used this health care system. He suffered from major knee problems and was put on a waiting list for 6 whole months before he could receive the surgery he needed. Since I have had several surgeries here in the United States, I know that when the final decision of surgery is needed, it is very important to fix the problem before further complications can persist. I would certainly not want to be in circuiting pain for 6 months until I could get the service I very much needed. Although there are still other private health insurance plans in the United Kingdom, most do not bother with them, for nine out of ten people use Britain’s National Health Care Services. This single national system provides minimal paperwork and no billing which has proven to be an unusually...
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