Japan's Universal Health System

Topics: Health care, Medicine, Universal health care Pages: 7 (2441 words) Published: July 3, 2013
Japan's Universal Health Care System
November 7, 2012
MIBC 101
Instructor: Sonya Pedro
by: Ayannah M Taylor

Japan is known as Nippon 日本 meaning “Nation of the rising Sun,” and is a modern country with a democratic government in East Asia. Its population of 127,000,000 is very compacted on the island nation. Japan is composed of 4 islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. Japan ranks number 10 in the world's population and its main capital city - Tokyo has the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million people residing there.

I like the fact since 1961 the government of Japan has been providing Universal Health Care plan to its citizens. The Japanese modeled their 1st healthcare system from the Germans in 1883 by Chancellor Bismarck. In the 1920's the 1st people insured for healthcare in Japan were industrial workers and miners. Those who were excluded, were self employed and companies with less than 5 workers. After War Word II, many other class factions and workers were included in the health care plan.

I prefer the Japanese Universal Health Care plan compared to the one here in the United States due to the fact the Nipponese/Japanese don't have to pay exorbitant fees in terms of their co-payments and premiums like here in the United States and it doesn't matter if they have pre-existing conditions. Premiums in Japan are based on a person's income and their ability to pay. There are no preconditions which can stop them from receiving treatment or go into bankruptcy if the person or a relative becomes severely ill like here at home. They can choose their own private practitioners or physicians as citizens of the US. However, unlike us, they don't have to make appointments and can be seen right on the spot. Many people in the United States, I believe would like this part of the Universal Japanese Heath Care system.

Super Ambulance, Japan|Interior of Standard Ambulance, Japan|

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Most of the cost of the Free Health Care is funded by private organizations and employers and the government from the local ward on up in Japan. The local government picks up the tab if someone is poor or can't afford their payments. People's payment on their health care plans can range from 10 - 30 % and the government will pick up 70% - 100%. Health insurance is mandatory by law there, but not punishable if one doesn't comply.

For an example, a mother named Hana Muai and her 4 year old son visits the hospital 12 times a year mostly during the winter and cold and flu season. She doesn't have to call to make an appointment and waits about 75 minutes in totality to see the doctor. The good thing is the local government will pay for her son's doctor's visit and Mrs. Hana doesn't have to buy the prescribed OTC drugs because they are also free of charge. Many children in Japan get free healthcare provided to them, adding to the fact, the doctors will go out to daycare centers to visit them at least twice a year free of charge. Also due to Japan's high emphasis on Preventative Care, Mrs Hana is offered free colon, cancer and health screens as well.*

One thing about the Japanese doctors many are overworked and there is a lack of obstetricians, anesthesiologists, Emergency room specialists. I believe this is one minor inefficient bug in the Japanese healthcare system. They are underpaid in comparison to their American counterparts. They will only make good money in the range of $100,000 to $150,000 + if they open up their own private clinics. For example: Dr. Toshihiko Oba was working 80 hours per week and finally at 47, left to open his private office in the Ginza district of Tokyo and now only works from 9:30 to 7 pm. 5 days a week. He averages just 3 minutes per patient and can see around 150 patients a day. Now, that is super efficiency.

Jikei University Hospital, Tokyo - Japan|National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo - Japan|...
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