Healthcare systems are an essential factor within countries and have proven to be controversial as many healthcare systems are driven only by political interests of the government officials. The U.S Healthcare system alone is paying trillions medical costs for insured and uninsured residents, which is more than any other country in the world. The U.S government recently passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 which gives a budget of $940 billion on providing primary health coverage on Americans, but most Americans are still uncovered by insurance. The problems is that the government has not come to a mutual understanding of the underlined problem of affordable healthcare options. In other countries such as the UK and Canada which has universal healthcare In, The Healing of America, Reid (2010) writes an overview of healthcare systems in comparison to the United States. This paper will discusses two countries included in his book, the United Kingdom and Canada, in a compare and contrast the healthcare system in the United States.
The United States is by far the world’s richest country, however, it cannot insure its 600 million residents. In some instances, when citizens become sick they do not qualify for health insurance, other factors include having an income that is too high, or too little money to afford the medications and the medical care that they need to stay alive. The problems that many Americans face is their lack of access to adequate or any healthcare. According to Reid, “more than twenty thousand Americans die in the prime of life each year from medical problems that could be treated, because they can’t afford to see a doctor.” (Reid 2) The government can spend billions on national security, however the epidemic of millions of people going without health insurance is tragically draining the economy from financial bankruptcies, medical debt, and other strains to American’s pockets. Even as Obamacare has taken effect there are still problems with the American health care system where thousands of deaths and bankruptcies can be avoided by an entire reform of the system. The problems stem mainly from a lack of effort of political pundits, and the “big government” that underestimates medical costs, and doesn’t want to strike deals with insurance and prescription medicine companies. However, this problem is not essentially felt in other well developed, wealthy, advanced industrialized democracies that guarantee health care for all their citizens.
Reid writes on several countries within his book that in comparison are better overall than the United States, the first being the United Kingdom. The British healthcare system, The British National Health Service, was created by Lord William Beveridge and Nye Bevan. “It is dedicated to the proposition that nobody should ever have to pay a medical bill.” (105) Within their healthcare system there is no pay on insurance premiums, no co-payment, and no fees at no matter if the person’s degree of medical need. The doctor’s bills are paid by the government, and not by the patients. Within the UK like the US there are private health insurance plans, but 9 out of 10 Britons receive their healthcare from the government (NHS). (105) In order for the government to be able to pay their citizens health cost, the people are taxed at a rate of 17.5 percent on products they by, however income and social securities are higher in the UK than in the United States. In order to afford their payments, Britons do forgo types of treatments and medications that NHS will not provide, pay for waiting in lines in an overstretched health care system. But, the system has proven to be cost-effective, caring for one-fifths America’s population and only one-fifteenth of US health care bill. (105) Compared to the United States they have lower child mortality rates, longer life pans, and better rates of recovery from major illnesses. The downside is that people do have to wait long periods of times to see a specialist, minor conditions were not treated, and some left feeling unsatisfied with their care. Unlike in the US when people had insurance that go directly to the doctor, but, UK residents don’t have to wait to see the bills.
The Canadian healthcare system is another country that provides universal healthcare to their citizens. Their systems was developed by Tommy Douglas a premier of the province of Saskatchewan in 1994, who as a child experienced an injury that would influence his directive to implement a government run, single payer healthcare system for everyone. It was so successful that the federal government signed it into law in 1961 for every resident in Canada (127). Their public system covers not only all medical costs but also in and out patient psychiatric care. Their system has influenced other countries such as Taiwan and South Korea. The United States adopted the model but just for citizens over the age of 65, by private providers and public financing known as Medicare (128) It is paid through income and sales taxes, and able to see any doctor they prefer. They also like the UK pay no co-pays or deductibles, however dental, vision, and prescription drugs for outpatients are not covered. More Canadians have private insurances, but lesser than the United States. Their insurance covers citizens when they leave the country, and have reasonable access to hospitals. Just like the UK the wait system is slow, patients overuse the services provided, but the US which offers efficient means of new delivery systems and managed health care techniques. Canada like the UK has lower child mortality, longer life spans, and better recovery than the US.
In conclusion, the countries provided in The Healing of America, such as the UK and Canada provide better solutions to insuring everyone in their country. While the United States offers more choices in private healthcare, and efficient means of delivery systems, and managed care techniques, the United States still leaves millions uninsured. The United States spends more money and use more resources than the two countries provided which cover each system through income and sales tax solutions. In order for the United States to provide adequate healthcare for their citizens they must develop a public health systems that utilizes single- payer healthcare where it can be covered by the US government.
Reid, T.R. The Healing of America. New York. Penguin Press. 2010. Book.