5 April 2013 American Health Care, “Need for Change” The aim of this research paper is to discuss and compare health care systems in different countries and to find out what is the best solution of whether the dominance of public or private spending is optimal for the society; here the comparison between Canada, France and USA health care system will be appropriate. The United States is having many problems with the way the economy is today. The economy is at its worst, and the health care system is not any better.
The United States has the most money spent per person on healthcare than any other nation. Even though health care in the United States is at its worst, the American people shouldn’t be spending as much money on it as they are currently paying. We should understand that health care should be considered a human right, rather than an economical benefit. Health care advancements in America are notably the best in the world. We continually strive for preventions and cures of diseases.
America has the best medical scientist and physicians that specialize in their medical fields. According to Census Bureau (2011), “what makes America health care system great is its ability to attract the finest minds in our society,” that can help the sick by preventing and curing medical complications. United States is noted worldwide for their medical care and physicians from other countries jump at the opportunity to join the American medical system. The traditional perception of health care as one of the paid services was and is still remaining the leading one.
But it doesn’t give the poor, elderly and disabled people, who most often need the medical treatment, the possibility to receive this treatment. In 1965, however, the Congress introduced Medicare and Medicaid programs, which were tax-funded and offered medical help for those groups of society who were not able to afford to pay for medical care. Naturally, this has caused the growth of health expenditures. In the 1970s the government was trying to stop the growth of spending on health care and offering different measures: price controlling and regulation of medical practice.
These measures, however, didn’t work, as the doctors have been protecting their incomes. We can make a conclusion that the concurrence solely between GPs (general practitioners), private doctors etc. is not enough to maintain the balance of prices and provide the needs of consumers. In 1980s a lot of insurance companies called “Health Management Organizations” (HMOs) emerged; they were not offering direct medical treatment, but were instead making contracts with private doctors and taking the insurance payment from citizens.
This helped a little to reduce the growth of budget spending for medicine, but did not help to solve the problem in general, as they didn’t manage to perform a constructive structural change in health care system. The National Health Service (NHS) remained necessary for the less protected groups of society and their financing still was growing. The policy of both presidential candidates in 1990s included the concept of “managed care”, which meant the further development of HMOs network and the participation of the employers in it.
But statistics in the beginning of 2000s has shown us that not very many employers have accepted this offer, and those who were using “managed care”, were mostly big corporations. In 2011, the Census Bureau published a survey of more than 500 corporations in the US and it turned out that less than 10% of the employers offered “choice or fixed dollar contribution” to their workers. The reforms in 1990s years have been aimed to the reduction of budget costs involved into health care and stimulation of the concurrence between private doctors and National Health System.
In fact, they have contributed to the development of the private practice and GPs in the US and have strengthened their positions against those of the NHS workers. Currently, the health care system funding in the USA is one of the highest in the whole world, and the ratio between Gross domestic product (GDP) and health care expenditures is likely to become even higher in coming years. Throughout the World health, except the U. S. , care systems tend to follow general patterns. There are four basic models: Beveridge, Bismarck, the National health insurance, and the out-of-pocket.
The Beveridge model named after the founder of British health care system William Beveridge. According to McCanne (2010), the majority of hospitals and clinics are owned by government. In this model the government is a sole payer, which controls the costs of medical expenses. Therefore, there is the tendency for low cost per capita. The second model of health care named after a founder of European welfare Otto von Bismarck. The major principle of this system based on the insurance plans, which financed jointly by employers and employees.
Moreover, the insurance plans are non-profit and cover everyone. The government tightly regulates and controls the health system that allows keeping low medical costs. The third model is the National health insurance model. It uses private sector of health providers, but payments come from a government based insurance, to which every citizen must pay. The National health insurance controls and keeps low prices for medical services, and tends to be cheaper and simpler administratively. The last and most disorganized health system follows the out-of-pocket model.
The major principle of that system based on the money and basically people with money can get the medical assistance, whereas poor get sicker or die. According to the World health report (2008) released by World Health Organization, France and Canada are the countries that provide the best health care. The same report states, “The U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance. ” The question is, why equally strong, politically and economically, countries have such significant difference of health care performance?
Certainly, one of the major dissimilarity of the systems is the difference of health care models. The French health system rigorously follows only one, as most of European countries, the Bismarck’s model. At first glance it seems to be very similar to the American; both countries widely use an insurance system, where employers and employee are both responsible for an insurance payment. However, in contrast to USA, the biggest fundamental difference between the two systems is that the Bismarck-type health insurance plans have to cover everybody, and they do not make a profit.
Opposite to France and Canada, the United States of America does not follow any of the models of health care. American health care system has elements of all of the models. When it comes to treating veterans, it becomes a government owned and controlled system, as Beveridge model. For Medicare dependent Americans and population over the age of 65, the American health care system uses the model of National Health Insurance, otherwise known as universal health system, which tends to be cheaper and simpler.
The health care system of a working population, who gets insurance through the employer, is more aligned with the Bismarck model. Finally, for those fifteen percent of Americans, who do not have any health care insurance the current system becomes an Out-of-Pocket Model, which is primarily used in Third World countries. France and Canada has out ranked America for its ability to promoting human development. All legal residents of France or Canada have full health coverage. The health care insurance profit is spread equally throughout France and Canada.
This guarantees health services will be there when they need them. Medicare is the form of universal health insurance Canadians and French use, in this sort of universal system; government doesn’t have “total” control over the system. Only medical needs are covered through insurance, not including cosmetic surgery. Physicians bill the government when a “patient requires medicine rather than billing the patient directly. ” (Health Canada, 2001, 13). They only do what is necessary for the patient and must spend quality time diagnosing a patient, “as to give them the proper antibiotics. (Health Canada, 2001, 13). I believe this will require the doctor to spend time with their patients’ needs. A budget requires doctors to be more precise and professional. This is what America needs, to adopt a Universal health care system. Canada’s and France’s system of Medicare insurance for their citizens is what America should adopt. Medicare is currently a part of the American health care system, but only “citizens 65 years of age or older” are able to benefit. (AJPH, 2009). Medicare, funded by the government has also become stricter due to the growing population of the elderly.
Less money is being given to the eligible recipients and some have argued with the growing number of citizens of advanced age, Medicare will eventually be stopped due to our current health care system. The research I have done about universal healthcare has convinced me that if America was to change to a Medicare based system; we could improve our current economy. With health insurance premiums on the rise and inflation impacting American citizens why not push for an alternative health care system that could potentially boost America and its citizens’.
Americans will be able to use their money for economic purposes. They will not have to pay a private insurer, but rely on the government for their medical purposes. Americans will spend more money in businesses, which will result in a need for more employees. According to a study done in Europe, where they compared businesses costs in North America, “Canada has the lowest business costs” and lower labor costs because they have “lower employees-sponsored benefits “due to a Universal health care system (American Journal of Public Health Care, 2009).
This means extra money will be put in our economy to boost it and the unemployed will have the opportunity to become employed. I know that if the average American citizen were to become aware of universal healthcare and its benefits, they would consider changing towards a more government based system approach. The wealthy may look at a government-funded system differently. Some wealthy American citizens would look at our current system and agree that America does have the best all-around health care system.
These “higher class” citizens would appraise America for our medical advancements. They are happy to know; often times there are solutions or medication to an illness or disease they may encounter. Look at Magic Johnson, the famous NBA basketball player, who has been living with the aids virus for years. He praises the doctors and their ability to provide him with medications that could prolong his life. Yes, the wealthy would agree that we have a productive healthcare system because they don’t have to worry about budgeting their money accordingly.
So is it right that someone that inheritances a billion dollars can have the best medical care in the world but a single parent that works sixty hours a week, earning $8. 25 per hour and supporting three children not have any benefits at all. Is it right that they have to seriously consider not taking their children to a hospital due to no medical insurance? This happens quite often where lower income families will try to wait out a sickness because they fear high medical bills that they will not be able to pay. Yes, Americans may have to be stricter with their health care money.
But doesn’t it seem right that every citizen will have the equal opportunity to receive medical care. Medical treatment should be a humans right, not a privilege. With universal healthcare, comes cost. Americans has already spent more than any other country on the health care system. “One-seventh of U. S. national income, 13. 6 percent”, is used for medical purposes. (World Health Organization, 2011). They spend “45 billion dollars” more toward healthcare, “than do Canadians and French,” yet all their citizens are insured. (World Health Organization, 2011).
America has also spent more than 700 Billion dollars on the war against Iraq and Afghanistan. What the government needs to do is control the budget. Take that 45 billion dollars used on medical technology or the 700 billion used in war and distribute throughout the country as needed to local governments. Similar to the opposite systems, the government will then give their citizens a medical card where each individual will have the equal opportunity to choose among physicians in their location that they will receive care from. As in Canada or France, a universal healthcare system could mean a waiting list.
Dutton states that most French or Canadians “do not find their waits problematic,” because they will get treated while Americans are “rationed by ability to pay, not by waiting. ” (Dutton, 2011). However, those with emergency cases will forego the waitlist and be immediately serviced. This system is fair because everyone has the same access to health care. No discrimination upon race, wealth or disabilities. If people know they can be medically treated without being questioned about their insurance, or asked an address to send the bills too, they likely wouldn’t mind being put on a waiting list.
The citizens know eventually they will be diagnosed and treated without worrying about medical bills. Furthermore, The French and the Canadian health care system combines universal coverage with a public–private mix of hospital and ambulatory care, higher levels of resources, and a higher volume of service provision than in the United States. According to American Journal of Public Health 2009, France and Canada has a higher physicians’ density per population than USA. Moreover, there is a significant difference, of more than 50%, between physicians of general practice and more disparity in more specialized practices.
It demonstrates that French and Canadian health care is based on more generalized medicine, than the US, where high costly specialty medicine is common practice. France and the U. S. face a crisis of unprecedented scope. Both countries possess large and growing elderly populations that threaten to push the pace of health care price increases even higher than their already faster-than-inflation rates. (Dutton, 2011) However, France has wide access to comprehensive health services for a population that is, on average, older than that of the United States (Sandier, 2003).
France, Canada and the United States, relies on both private insurance and government insurance. In the countries mentioned above, working populations generally receive their insurance through their employer. However, French and Canadian health care is based on the National Health Insurance and there is no uninsured population. French and Canadian national insurance covers about 70 percent of the medical bills, the rest of the 30 percent is paid by private insurance companies, which are typically provided and paid by employer.
Furthermore, contradictory to the common American opinion, that universal health care system does not allow one to choose doctors, hospitals and clinics, French and Canadian people are not restricted in their choice of medical professionals and institutions, and they freely navigate themselves from doctor to doctor (Imai, Jacobzone, Lenain, 2000). In contrast to that, certain American HMOs allow their members to visit doctors strictly in their systems. The other tremendous distinction of the French and Canadian health care system is that there is no discrimination of people with preexisting conditions.
Moreover, individuals with preexisting conditions have a priority and receive more coverage; patients with long-standing diseases, such as mental illness, cancer, diabetes, obtain 100 percent governmental support for all medical expenses, including surgeries, therapy and pharmaceutical agents (Lenain, 2000). As Individuals we should vote for the Obama’s care who would like to follow the Canadian and the French health Care system path. Unfortunately, Republicans are more preoccupied to spend the budget on war that we cannot really afford right now, instead of facilitating the health care system and opposing the Obama’s reform.
Obama Healthcare plan could be very beneficial to the economy. The strategy will decrease or at the least keep control costs constant. The Obama healthcare plan could also Increase quality and Increase health security. Health Care for America is no single payer, making it more convenient for the economy. The Obama plan has potential to create a large publicly overseen insurance pool, which will consequently lead to bargains for lower prices. The purchaser of health insurance will gain much more power and the quality of healthcare service that will be acquired could potentially increase too.
This Cost-effectiveness plan of medical insurance would not only give choice to Americans, but regulate costs and its effectiveness in society. Others also argue that as “free” American citizens would be allowing the government to have too much control over their lives. For example, one might say just because Joe Smith cannot afford good health coverage, does not mean I should not be able to benefit from advanced technology. More insured would mean less money to put into advancements and physicians could only prescribe the exact medicine that is needed.
Opponents feel that there are too many restrictions when a universal health care system is used. America is known for medical break-through and highly trained physicians and this system will restrict both from performing at its best. The best is what some Americans feel they deserve. A journalist at MSNBC states that “the better educated are more productive at managing their own health”, they will benefit by being able to use new medical technologies (MSNBC, 2011). His statement suggests that if you are currently un-insured, it is your own fault and others shouldn’t be responsible for insuring you.
In today’s society money has taken priority over human life. The wealthy citizens in America get diagnosed and treated with the best medical care in the world. Nonetheless, the wealthy are only a select few, while the rest of the citizens struggle to get medical benefits or lack insurance all together. The only effective way to make the system fair is to adopt a Medicare, universal healthcare system, similar to our neighboring country Canada or the Oldest Continent “Europe”.
Promoting a government funded healthcare system is the government mission; I hope that one day the Republicans and Democrats will consider these reasons for making the American health care system equal among all citizens. The ability to seek health care is a human right. At a final point, most of American’s health budget oriented on the end of life diseases, which as a rule, heavily involve costly sophisticated technology and procedures that enormously brings operating cost up. At the same time USA still neglects major successful health care steps such as disease prevention and public health education.
This perhaps explains, in spite of impressive achievements in the biomedical science and technology the US does not have a better health care performance. Works Cited American Journal of Public Health 2009 “Canadian Health Care System. ” New Rules Project. Web. 26 Nov. 2001. “Case could be court’s most significant and political undertaking in more than a decade. ” MSNBC. Web. 19 Nov. 2011 Dutton. P. (2011). Health care in France and the United States: Learning from each other. “Health Care System- The Four Basic Models” PBS. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. “Health Expenditure Ratio. ” World Health Organization. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. Imai, Y. , Jacobzone, S. Lenain, P. (2000). The changing health system in France. France: Economics department, organization for economic cooperation and development. p. 268. McCanne, D. (2010). Health Care Systems – Four Basic Models. Physicians for a National Health Program, p. 1 “People Without Health Insurance by Family Income” Census Bureau. Web. 18 Nov. 2011 Rodwin V, Sandier S. 2003; Health care under French national health insurance. 12 (3):113–131. World Health Organization, (2008). The world health report 2008 – World Health Assesses the World’s Health Systems.