Table of Contents
During the last decades, the state of affairs in healthcare systems has been the subject to numerous brisk debates among experts, politicians and ordinary citizens in different countries all over the world. To improve the situation in this sphere, policy-makers make certain steps. To illustrate, in the USA, health care reform (Obamacare) was launched on March 23, 2010 (Edmonds, n.d.). Nevertheless, researchers have diametrically opposite opinions about the issue. To avoid being a real market failure, the USA should consider the experience of other countries in the field of health care provision.
The Major Features of Healthcare Systems in France, Germany, and the United States
Researchers divide health care systems of developed countries into four types: Bismarck, Beverage, national health insurance, and out-of-pocket. Belonging to Bismarck type, health care systems of France and Germany are considered to be the most successful patterns. The success and drawbacks of the above-mentioned countries in this area can be evaluated by analysis of three major criteria such as access, cost, and quality of health care services (Reid, 2010).
Access to health care services. In France and Germany, every citizen can get health care coverage irrespective of the age and social status of a person. In France, residents can choose any doctor or medical clinic in any place of the country. In Germany, patients can select any insurance plan on the market. Moreover, they can change their plans if they need. On the contrary, the USA does not imply this system. The major part of Americans possesses health insurance. In fact, health insurance coverage makes 80 per cent among non-elderly category of American citizens. Typically, they get the insurance, being employed. Moreover, the employer allocates the necessary sum from the monthly premium on the health coverage (Reid, 2010). Thus, insurance money is distributed unevenly. While a part of Americans receives all packages of services paid by their insurance plans, many people do not get proper treatment for serious diseases (Reid, 2010).
The cost of healt services. Evaluating health care systems of different countries, researchers argue that all countries face numerous difficulties in the field of medical care. The common burning problem of every national health system is growing costs of services. In fact, this phenomenon can be explained by positive reasons such as inventing new effective drugs and medical devices. Nevertheless, American large expenses in the health insurance field are promoted by the increased striving for huge profit. Medical staff, clinics, and drug companies get money that exceeds the profit of their foreign colleagues in several times. Doctors and nurses try to return expenses on their education. To illustrate, American students had to return loans exceeding 100,000 after their graduating. Moreover, in the USA, malpractice insurance costs an enormous sum comparatively to $1,000 malpractice in France and Germany. The reason for it is numerous cases of patients’ filing lawsuits on their doctors.
France and Germany provide a statutory health insurance system with compulsory coverage of all the citizens. In Germany, private health insurance covers about 30% of the residents. Healthcare spending is about 600 Euros per year (Cost sharing for health care, 2009). In France, about 90 per cent of the population chooses voluntary insurance plans. In the USA, a worker’s medical bills are paid from his or her monthly premium (Reid, 2010). Nevertheless, American insurance firms spend a part of health coverage money on marketing, underwriting, and administration. Moreover, they make great profit doing business in health care field. Typically, an average family has to pay about $16,000 for health insurance. In the USA, healthcare insurance companies collect about $713 billion in premiums (Heilbrunn, 2013).
The quality of services. Evaluating the quality of services in the health care field, researchers consider three major criteria: avoidable mortality, the survival rate from diseases, and life expectancy. Unfortunately, the USA does not demonstrate excellent results. According to the Commonwealth Fund Report, the USA took the last places among the 19 developed countriies on the avoidable mortality and the survival rate. Moreover, being a world-recognized leader in the economic field, the USA ranks below the major part of European and even some East Asian countries in terms of life expectancy. To illustrate, infant mortality rates per 1,000 births make 3.41 per cent in France and 3.08 in Germany. The USA showed the worst results among 10 developed countries, making 6.37 per cent (Reid, 2010).
The US Health Care Providers of the US Health Care System. Approximately 130 health insurance companies provide medical coverage for American citizens. Twenty-five of them cover about two-thirds of the US citizens possessing health insurance plans. The most famous of them are Unitedhealth Group, Wellpoint Inc. Group, Kaiser Foundation Group, Humana Group, and Aetna Group.
American insurance companies, working in the field of health care, spend large sums of money on marketing, underwriting, and administration. This business is very profitable for them. Being the most expensive in global health care field, health insurance business makes a strong negative effect on American nation’s health care. On the contrary, Germany and France have made basic health insurance be a nonprofit field. Their medical coverage provides spending money only on medical purposes, which avoids insurance companies from making high profit. Government and private entities give money to pay for the insurance plans. Therefore, the USA can imply successful experience of France and Germany in the health insurance. The first positive step to the development of American healthcare system can be compulsory health insurance coverage of all American citizens. The other step can be providing suitable conditions for non-profit health insurance. As for the low costs of French and German malpractice, this step is not reasonable to imply in the USA. High payment to the American doctors and growing prices of the drugs are not the key reason of the increasing medical expenses in the USA. To illustrate, malpractices make approximately 1 per cent to all total spending in the health care field in the USA.