Trends In Global Healthcare Provision Across The World
Written by Pooja Thakkar
Every day, the lives of countless people lie in the hands of healthcare providers. From the safe delivery of a baby to the care of the frail elderly, healthcare systems have a vital responsibility to the healthy development of individuals, families and societies throughout their lifespan.
A desirable system for health care provision and financing should ideally achieve these three goals >>>
- Offering care to all the patients even those who are unable to pay;
- Avoiding wasteful spending;
- Allowing care to reflect the different tastes of individual patients.
Although it is difficult to realize fully all three of these goals, they can help in designing a good system for financing health care.
Health Provision Varies Around The World
There are numerous ways is which healthcare is provided >>>
- Government funded (tax paid) national systems
- Government funded but with user fees
- Health insurance systems (funded by governments, citizens, or a mixture)
- Decentralized, private systems run for profit or not for profit
At a high level, health services fall into different categories of health care: Primary health care, Secondary health care, and Tertiary Health Care. The WHO (World Health Organization) has tried to reiterate the importance of primary health care in health care systems.
Child mortality, a general indicator of health in rich and poor countries alike has generally improved around the world over the time.
All developed nations, with the exception of the United States, implement some form of universal health care, what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls “a widely shared political aim of most countries.”
Nearly 50 countries had attained universal or near-universal health coverage by 2008, according to the International Labor Organization. Several well-known examples exist like the UK, which has the National Health Service, and the Canadian public health care system.
Healthcare Spending In Different Countries
Spending a great deal on health care does not result in a healthier population. The United States spends more than any other country but has the eighth-lowest life expectancy in the OECD.
France and Japan demonstrate that it is possible to have cost-containment at the same time using similar tools to those used in the US. There are two key things that stand out when you compare these countries to the US. They use a common fee schedule so that hospitals, doctors and health services are paid similar rates for most of the patients they see. They are flexible in responding if they think certain costs are exceeding what they budgeted for.
In Sweden on the other hand all drug prescribing is done electronically - a message is sent directly from the doctor's office to the pharmacy. Not only does this cut down on medical errors, it is also thought to save 1-2 hours of work by the pharmacists per day.
State Of World Healthcare
The World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked France first in its survey of health care systems in the past. French citizens have access to universal health coverage that's provided by the government. Funds are contributed by citizens based on income. In return, the country reimburses about 70 percent of most medical bills and the people are allowed to see any health provider they choose.
All citizens must are required to have health insurance in Germany, offered by private, nonprofit funds. There are about 200 of these plans, none of which is allowed to deny coverage for a pre-existing condition.
Those who can't afford the plans are eligible for public assistance. The wealthiest 10 percent of citizens are allowed to opt out of the system and use a for-profit plan.
In addition to paying for all citizens to have insurance, the British government also hires and pays the doctors and runs the hospitals. British citizens pay taxes, which the National Health Service (NHS) allocates to providers. When a citizen shows up for an appointment, all services that he or she receives are paid for, with the exception of prescription drugs.
There is a parallel private health option but is used by a small percentage of the population.
The year 2012 proved to be an eventful period for the US health insurance industry. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) became infused with a fresh lease of life when President Obama won a second term in office. 2013 is now poised to see some important developments and new trends in the US healthcare sector.
In a 2008 survey, Canadians named universal health care as one of the 10 most defining factors of Canada.
All Canadian citizens have health care that is funded by income taxes and sales tax. Canadian health care providers bill the government, so that citizens never see a bill for anything other than dentistry, optometry and prescription drugs.
Taiwan has adopted a single-payer system of national health insurance, in which the government pays for all its citizens' coverage.
All citizens in this Country have a smart card encoded with their entire medical history. Present it to any doctor, and he or she will know every health concern you've had since you were born. Using these cards also cuts down on administrative paperwork, as medical providers can use it to bill the government directly for their services. It's worth noting that in many countries, people aren't willing to hand so much information over to their government.
China is in the midst of a major health care reform initiative. While reforms will continue until 2020, there are some immediate goals. The government is paying to ensure that 90 percent of the population has health insurance.
There is something that Cuba does extremely well: preventive care. The Country religiously advertises the importance of exercise, eating right and proper hygiene to fight off germs. Cuba has a high number of general practitioners, and every citizen is subject to a surprise home inspection by one of these doctors.
Because of preventive care, the country doesn't have to shell out the big bucks to treat it.
Advancing The Healthcare Frontier
One of the key differences between government-financed and market-based healthcare is their ability to encourage medical advances that will bring new, effective treatment to patients.
Studies point that innovation tends to suffer under government-financed systems. The combination of price controls, budget ceilings and other restrictions reduces incentives to invest in medical research.
As expensive as it may seem, health systems are an investment in people. Healthier people contribute to the economy and society more easily, after all.