International Health Care Policies
Of the countries that were made available, the three countries health care policies I found most interesting were United Kingdom, Japan and Taiwan. These three countries all had a very different take on how to provide healthcare to the public but they also all managed to do so with a low government GDP.
The United Kingdom is a capitalist democracy with a health care system that tries to support it’s views of an economic, political and social economy. There system is referred to as the National Health Service (NHS), it is government funded and the main source of income is through taxation. The Brits call this process “socialized medicine,” where the government is in charge of providing and funding for their health care program. Once the high taxes are collected the government then goes and distributes them throughout the (NHS) to health care providers. Doctors have set salaries determined by the government, but before you can get to your doctor you have to see a General Practitioner (GP) or also known as the gatekeeper. These people run their own private practices and their pay is based upon how many patients they have and the health of their patients. This system may sound all tied together but some of the negatives that go along with the (NHS) are long waiting lists, and a limited choice on your health care provider. Some of the changes that the UK has managed to change over the years is how “Hospitals now compete for NHS funds distributed by local Primary Care Trusts, and starting in April 2008 patients are able to choose where they want to be treated for many procedures.” This has allowed for the market based economy to open up more, leaving patients with a wider choice for health services.
Japan’s health care system differs from the UK in several ways, there GDP averages about 8% which is even less than the UK. Everyone in Japan has to sign up for Health Care Insurance or as they call it (Social Insurance). A families average premium totals out to be about $280 a month, and if you can’t pay a premium then you have a net to fall on, there is public assistance available. Japan pays all but about 30% of the cost, leaving co-payments minimal, but they base the total amount off of your income at the end of the month. Japan isn’t completely government based they found that having most health insurance agencies, doctors and nearly all hospitals in private sectors allowed competition leaving the GDP at a low 8%. The Japanese are known for being some of the longest lived humans due to their cultures diet and lifestyle, but many argue it has much to do with the stability of their health care plan. It was created with the intent to provide health care to all individuals in their society, singling no one out because of inability to pay for the system. The Japanese have also made it easier to get service to their citizens, they eliminated the idea of gate keepers, allowing the Japanese to go to any specialist as often as they wish. The Ministry of Health determines the price of every procedure every two years. This is the main factor in keeping costs low, but keeping costs so low has been the soul cause of their hospital deficit. Their government is not spending enough on health care so hospitals are the ones suffering, not the citizens.
Taiwan's system is merely a combination of all the systems. They analyzed other countries and looked at their flaws and then tried to build a health care system around them. They have what is called a “National Health Insurance.” All of their citizens are required to obtain health insurance, but the difference between Taiwan and many other capitalist democracies is their system has made it where they only have one government- run insurer, which cuts competition and gets strait to the point. Families on average pay a premium of $650 per fiscal year. “ Working people pay premiums split with their employers; others pay flat rates with government...
Cited: * FRONTLINE. “Five Capitalist Democracies.” www.pbs.org. 15 April. 2008. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/countries/
* “Sick around the World.” Frontline News. PBS. 15 April. 2008. Televison
*Discussions from Class with Dr. Arwin
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