A Comparative Look at the Japanese Healthcare System

Topics: Medicine, Health care, Health economics Pages: 4 (1474 words) Published: December 5, 2013
A Comparative Look at the Japanese Healthcare Systems

The Japanese health care system is one of the most efficient in the world. In fact, it is so efficient that the people of Japan have the highest life expectancy rate of any other country in the world (The Economist, 2011). Life expectancy at birth was 83 years in 2009 ; 79.6 for males and 86.4 years for females (Wikipedia, 2012). The Japanese government has been able to accomplish this through strict regulations and policies. Although this system has worked for the people of Japan since its institution in 1961, their healthcare system is now facing financial ruins if changes are not implemented in the near future. It is my intent to explore why the Japanese health system has been able to function in a cost effective way and how it affects health outcomes. Japan has a universal health system called kaihoken (The Economist, 2011). Citizens are required to get insurance. Most people get it through their employers and are responsible for paying10%, 20%, or 30% of their healthcare costs depending on their family size and income. The government covers the difference (Wikipedia, 2012). If a citizen cannot get coverage through an employer then they have the option of participating in a national health insurance program that is managed by the local government (Wikipedia, 2012). Japanese citizens are free to go to any physician or healthcare facility that they want and cannot be denied treatment (Wikipedia, 2012). Because of this freedom, Japanese citizens visit the doctor four times more than the average American does in a year (Wikipedia, 2012). Japan has strict regulations on the healthcare system that allows them to keep their costs down. Japan has about the lowest per capita health care costs among the advanced nations of the world, at around $2,873 (Arnquist, 2009). They are able to do this for many reasons. The first being they set a fixed price for services and medications with physicians...

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