Comparisons of Health Insurance Systems in Developed Countries – Health System Example

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"Comparisons of Health Insurance Systems in Developed Countries" is a perfect example of a paper on the health system. Health cannot be taken lightly in the life of each and every human being regardless of their race, religion, age, and/or position they occupy in the society; poor health usually leads to poor life. Thus, healthcare should be equally accessed by all people regardless of their country of origin, location, and status in the society for equal comfortable life among human beings. However, this is not the case since not all people in contemporary society have equal access to healthcare services (Gil, 2002, 34); some fail to acquire quality medical services whereas others die are killed by illnesses that could have been cured if medical services were provided to them.

For instance, 13.4% (42 million) people; 7.6% of underage (19 years) children; 9.8% of Hispanic whites; and 24.3% of Hispanics in the United States of America were uninsured in 2013 (Smith and Medalia, 2014, p. 2) This presentation explores the issues in healthcare and finally presents the conclusion that healthcare should be free to all.                       The cost of affording healthcare services, especially for acute ailments such as cancer, is very high.

As a result, wealthy people and residents of countries having lower comparative costs can afford it and not low-income families hence the disparity in access to the life-essential service. For instance, the cost of an MRI scan is very high for a poor family to afford; it costs between $400 and $1,860 in the United States of America and $400 in France (Klein, 2013). Thus the provision of free healthcare will avoid such high costs and enable the poor and residents of countries’ having high healthcare costs to achieve such services as and when needed.                       Also, there is a disparity in healthcare insurance across the globe with some countries having universal insurance covers whereas having private covers that do not cover all residents.

Singapore, Canada, Japan, and Germany have primary insurance coverage for their residents whereas only 83% of residents of the United States are covered by primary insurance (Ellis, Chen, and Luscombe, 2014). Partial insurance coverage promotes healthcare access disparity.                       More so, insurers have rules and regulations that promote disparity in access to healthcare services.

For instance, most insurers do not provide cover for endemic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS as well as coverage beyond the period of the insurance contract. These conditions imply that people having insufficient financial resources and are suffering from endemic illnesses and/or their insurance plans have expired will not afford the required healthcare services.             The provision of free healthcare will resolve the access challenges and permit people to get medical attention as and when the need arises.

First, no costs will be charged meaning the rich, as well as the poor, will afford the services. Second, the need for insurance will be eliminated sweeping away the restricting rules and regulations. However, it comes along with some disadvantages- deteriorated service quality and overcrowding in healthcare services.                       It is argued that one of the disadvantages of the privatization of organizations is the enhancement of competition that in turn increases the quality of goods and/or services provided (Le, 2007). Similar can be applied to the provided of healthcare services.

Making such services free will reduce competition resulting in low-quality services. Fortunately, there are techniques to resolve this challenge such as the signing of performance contracts (Le, 2007). Also, providing free healthcare service to the people will encourage people to visit healthcare facilities because of minor problems such as colds and small cuts that would have been resolved without a visit to a doctor. Such encouragement increase hospital attendance resulting in overcrowding that increases waiting time. However, this disadvantage can be addressed by fixing the number of visits to the doctor in a year.

For instance, Heywood et al. (1998, p. 198) found that having one consultation per year reduces general practice’ s workload (number of visits) by 1%.                       In summary, there is a disparity in access and affordability of healthcare services not only in one country but across the globe. As such, not all people acquire life-essential healthcare services. Therefore, it is reasonable that healthcare should be free to all people to ensure affordability and accessibility to life-saving and life-sustaining services.

References

Ellis, R. P., Chen, T., and Luscombe, C. E. (2014). Comparisons of health insurance systems in developed countries. In Cuyler, A. (ed.), Encyclopedia of health economics. Boston: Elsevier Press Inc.

Gil, J. (2002). A comparison of the USA health care effort with other OECD countries. Revista de Economia Publica, 161(2), 31-48.

Klein, E. (2013). Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France. Retrieved from; http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/15/why-an-mri-costs- 1080-in-america-and-280-in-france/.

Le, G. J. (2007). The other invisible hand: Delivering public services through choice and competition. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Smith, J. C., and Medalia, C. (2014). Health insurance coverage in the United States: 2013. Washington: US Census Bureau.

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