Healthcare Systems of the Selected Countries

Introduction

The healthcare systems of across the world for instance in France and the United States are facing serious catastrophes that can be said to be of unprecedented scope. The US and France have increasing number of elderly population and this group is becoming a threat to the pace of healthcare prices. Health costs are bound to increase even higher than they are today.

Observers warn that the outlays for the progressively more costly medical treatments and technologies are likely to cause serious mayhem in public spending priorities. It is likely that the united states unchecked healthcare inflation will jeopardize programs like Medicaid and Medicare. This will in turn cause increased federal budget deficits and the number of American without medical cover will embarrassingly go up.

Quality

Every healthcare system in the world has its own inadequacies. Japan, just like the US and France, has a problem of increasing number of aging population yet it has not proper structure of taking care of this group of people who need more healthcare services (Smyth, 2005, p. 156). The doctors themselves are even campaigning for reforms, where they complain against fatigue at work and poor compensation for their work and even more hospitals in red (Anderson & Frogner, 2008, p. 1721).

Japanese healthcare is boosted by low level of drug addiction cases, low cases of obesity, violent behavior, and health-and-income inequality, these characteristics are otherwise rampant in the US. Japan emphasizes on preventive medicine, even though it is partially famed for having healthiest population in the world (Anderson & Frogner, 2008, p. 1721). In fact the life expectancies are four years above that of the US.

Japan’s healthcare system is a mixture of public health system and a private medical service working alongside each other. Japan has a cheaper healthcare cost which is estimated to be half that of the US (Edlin & Golanty, 2009, p. 438). Japan has been able to achieve this by banning insurance firms from making illegal profits.

The government also limits the amount of fees that doctors charge (Anderson & Frogner, 2008, p. 1721) and allowing inadequacies into their systems that are intolerable in America (Twaddle, 2002, 266).

Canada has put in place critical measures to construct healthcare systems that are able to address the dynamic needs and demands of the public (Blanchette & Tolley, 2001, p. para. 3). The medical services are now accessible by most of the Canadians. There is increasing spending of healthcare on the Gross domestic product – GDP (Edlin & Golanty, 2009, p. 438). As a consequence, the scope of the publicly financed medical services have increased, characterized by better infrastructure, better and latest medical technologies and therefore the range of diseases treated has increased (Edlin & Golanty, 2009, p. 439).

Italy has an outstanding standard of state financed healthcare system that has earned the country a spot in the top ten best healthcare systems in the world based on the research by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2000, p. 78). Italy is ranked second in the world after France and the US is number 37, behind most of the other European nations.

Canada ranks 31st while Japan is number seven and these ratings could be intricate to understand because, despite the US spending greater proportion of its GDP compared to any other nation but it still ranks way below other developed nations public (Blanchette & Tolley, 2001, p. para. 3). The medical staffs in Italy are well trained and all the citizens can be easily access quality medical care. The private healthcare is also greatly accessible across the country. The quality care in Italy is attributable to the contributions of all the employed citizens and their employers (WHO, 2003, p. 89).

Despite the fact that Italy ranks among that topmost best healthcare systems on the plane, the citizens have been reported to be dissatisfied with the quality of the country’s medical care (Peterson & Burton, 2008, p. 5). These citizens believe that the quality of care will improve even more when there is more patient choice. However, there are many obstacles that could impede this, including the political system, and vested interest s of some advocacy groups.

Economics/Cost

The US is the most expensive healthcare system in the world yet it is not among the top ten best systems in terms of quality. This rating is based on the expenses on health per capita (per every individual) and on the overall expenses expresses as a percentage of the country’s GDP (Reinhardt, et al 2004, p. 12).

The report by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicated that in 1988 the US spent $4,178 per capita on its medical system and this was even more than double the mean ($1,783) expenditure of other developed nations surveyed. Canada spent $2,312, France spent $2,077 (OECD, 2008, p. 77), Japan had $1,822 and Italy spent $1,783.

The expenses were far more than the second highest spender on health (Anderson & Frogner, 2008, p. 1725), Switzerland which had $2,794. The US expenditure as a percentage of its GDP was 13.6% the same year and this was more than the nations considered to be having the most expensive health systems like Germany at 10.6% and Switzerland at 10.4% (Reinhardt, et al 2004, p. 12).

The 2002 statistics showed very little changes and the World health organization reported healthcare expense as a percentage of GDP as follows (expressed in US dollars); the US per capita expense was $4,499 and GDP of 13%, Canada – $2,058 (9.1%) (Reinhardt, et al 2004, p. 12), France $2,057 (9.5%), Italy &1,498 (8.1%), and Japan $2,908 (7.8%). the changes are slight for other countries but the US has highest change as the 2006 findings show. US (6,102), Japan 2,249, Canada, 3,165, France 3,158, Italy 2,467 (OECD, 2008, p. 77).

Access

Of all the developed nations, the United States remains the only nation that has not constituted a proper healthcare access policy to all its citizens. In France, Canada, Japan and Italy, all citizens are entitled to equal access to medical care (Peterson & Burton, 2008, p. 5). Their systems are publicly funded and as a result, their health services have been growing steadily, the hospital infrastructure has improved and there has been increased use of advanced medical technology to offer services (Smyth, 2005, p. 156).

The US however is still struggling with its hodge-podge insurance cover system based on basic employment (Piedra, 2004, p. 150) and the public cover for older population provided for by Medicare and Medicaid which cover the physically and mental disadvantaged and the poor.

Many Americans are unable to access quality healthcare because their chances are limited because of lack of insurance cover. It is estimated that about 43 million Americans are not covered or they are underinsured. Regardless of this insurance, the US expenditure on healthcare is very high making it the leading spender on medication in the world Peterson & Burton, 2008, p. 5). Japanese strategy is different from that of the US because it targets and focuses preventative medicine as its hallmark.

Many people are hence able to access insurance. However, in the US, besides being under insured or lacking insurance cover, many of those that are covered avoid doctors and they are dissatisfied with the process of accessing healthcare. This has given the American healthcare a very bad reputation among the developed countries.

Other developed nations including Italy, Canada and France have social financing systems that enable collection of funds through sickness kitty based on the income of the individuals. Social partners are responsible for managing these funds and they are subject to strict government statute (Piedra, 2004, p. 150). Many Italian insurance firms provide supplementary insurance and not comprehensive coverage.

Conclusion

Healthcare is a very important subject for every country in the world because it influences their performance their productivity directly and indirectly. When a nation is healthy, it will have enough workforce who will pay for other national needs as they work harder. However with a poor healthcare system, there will be escalated medical problems because of poor accessibility, unaffordable costs, poor healthcare quality and lack of patient safety.

Some countries like US and France have performance standards to ensure quality healthcare and quality assurance programs so that its citizens are guaranteed proper care. Italy and France also consider quality as a component before awarding service contracts for care facilities. All these are some of efforts employed by various nations are just to ensure quality, safer, and affordable medication for its citizens.

Reference List

Anderson, G.F., & Frogner, B.K., (2008). Health Spending In OECD Countries: Obtaining Value per Dollar. Health Aff (Millwood); 27 (6):1718–27.

Blanchette, C & Tolley, E., (2001). Public- And Private-Sector Involvement in Health-Care Systems: A Comparison of OECD Countries, Bulletin 438E, Library of Parliament.

Edlin, G & Golanty, E., (2009). Health and Wellness, Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

OECD – Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2008). Health Care Systems: Efficiency and Policy Settings, New York: OECD Publishing, 77.

Peterson, C., & Burton, R., (2008). The U.S. Health Care Spending: Comparison With Other OECD Countries, New York: Nova Publishers.

Piedra, A.M., (2004). Natural Law: The Foundation of An Orderly Economic System, Maryland: Lexington Books.

Reinhardt, U.E., Hussey, PS, & Anderson, G.F., (2004). US Health Care Spending In An International Context. Health Aff (Millwood); 23(3):10–25.

Robinson, M., (2001). Global Health and Global Aging, New York: Jones Wiley and Sons.

Smyth, M.N., (2005). Health Care Issues, New York: Nova Publishers.

Twaddle, A., (2002). Health Care Reform around the World, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.

World Health Organization, (2000). The World Health Report – Health Systems: Improving Performance, Geneva: WHO.

World Health Organization, (2003). The World Health Report 2003: Shaping the Future, World Health Organization, Geneva: WHO.

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