ECON 402—Wednesday’s Class
Due Date: November 2nd, 2011
What is an optimal model for health care? This is a highly debated issue internationally. Much of the debate centers around whether health care should be treated as a type of public—good supplied by the government and funded by taxpayers. Others believe that a better system is delivered by the private sector. Another model advocates a public/private mix. This analysis will consider several important factors such as; public access, health outcomes/results, economic sustainability, as well as if it provides room for research and development, in order to recommend which health care system is optimal. Countries health care system including Canada, U.S, and Cuba will provide an insight on the final decision.
“A public health care system is a financial system designed to meet the costs of all or most health care necessities of a country from a publicly managed fund, which is usually under some form of “democratic accountability.” Cuba has a great example of a public health care system, in fact, in 2000, Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan stated that "Cuba should be the envy of many other nations" adding that achievements in social development are impressive given the size of its gross domestic product per capita.” Cuba guarantees “free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers; by providing free dental care; by promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccinations and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease.” This funding model has allowed Cuba’s “life expectancy and infant mortality rates to be nearly the same as the USA's. Its doctor-to-patient ratios stand comparison to any country in Western Europe. Its annual total health spend per head comes in at $251: just over a tenth of the UK's.”This may seem like a conquest but many Cuban’s “complain about politics in medical treatment and health care decision-making. There is no right to privacy, patient's informed consent, or right to protest for malpractice. The patient has no right to refuse the treatment, including for religious or ethical reasons.”This leaves us to wonder the government has the public’s interest in mind. One would argue that since they are producing positive results of high standards on par with the U.S.A and Western Europe, the government is acting in the Public’s Interest. Others could agree with that statement but wonder if it is at all true since the communist government can manipulate results it releases, but if true, were there any unethical/immoral actions done to attain the results at hand?
A private health care system requires patients to pay a monthly or annual premium, which usually “requires them to pay a deductible or co-insurance when using the insurance. The insurer covers the remaining costs. Participation in a private insurance scheme is voluntary and premiums are typically based on the insured’s level of risk.” The U.S.A relies heavily on private insurance health care. The only “direct government funding of health care is limited to Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.” For everyone else in the U.S who is not covered, health insurance must be paid for privately. Some 59 per cent of U.S residents have access to health care insurance through employer.” These employees may face what is called “job lock,” meaning “people become tied to their jobs for fear of losing their health insurance. This reduces the flexibility of the labor market.” The other 41 per cent of uninsured Americans are “less likely to have regular health care and use preventive services. They are more likely to delay seeking care, resulting in more medical crisis, which can be more expensive treatment in the long...