A developed country's healthcare system has to provide for it’s citizens while being cost effective. To date, there are five models that have been established to meet these needs. This ranges from no organized health care to a comprehensive system that provides free or reduced cost health care for all citizens. The United States’ health care system is inefficient, but could be improved with an alternative health care system.
The United States, pre Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, had an “Out of Pocket” health care system. This means that the majority of care is from private doctors, provided by an insurance company that you pay for coverage. People over 65, however, are covered by the government run Medicare system, which reduces the cost of health care. Medicare is funded by taxes that a person pays into until they are eligible to receive the service. According to David Brooks, the problem lies in the fact that an “Average 56-year-old couple pays about $140,000 into the Medicare system over a lifetime and receives about $430,000 in benefits back.” The Medicare system cannot possibly sustain itself at the rate is it spending.
Recently, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed. This is the closest America will realistically come to healthcare reform. The goals of the law make the US’s health care system more like a privately run, universal care system. Insurance still remains private, and so do hospitals, now insurance has to take everyone and provide reasonable rates. If the law functions as planned, it could be a great step towards providing healthcare for all citizens.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, affectionately known as Obamacare, which regulates insurance companies, making our private health care model into one that doesn’t deny primary care. The backlash to this law was because the law put more restrictions on a free market system–healthcare. Since we are, and forever will be a capitalistic country, we believe in a free market without government interference. Obamacare makes sense because it keeps our private system, but prevents people with previously existing conditions from not getting care, free primary care (If eligible), and requires all Americans to have insurance. Besides that the insurance companies aren't government run, Obamacare functions nearly identical to a universal healthcare system, in terms of care received. Obamacare is the most viable system for America to use because it satisfies all parties–you get the care you want, but you have to have it and can’t be denied by insurance companies.
If the US were to adopt the National Health Insurance Model, most commonly used in Canada, or the Beveridge Model, most commonly used in the United Kingdom, the United States could better protect it’s citizens and discriminate coverage less. If everyone were to have the same coverage, the poor, old and veterans don’t need separate coverage. The US spends about $7,538 per capita, more than any other country. Not only do we spend more, we don’t have a higher life expectancy. The US ranks 50th in the world for life expectancy, behind the United Kingdom and Canada, who both have universal style health care systems.
The most viable, comprehensive, system for the US to adopt would be the National Health Insurance model because of it’s use of private care providers, while maintaining government controlled insurance. Medicare is most like this model, and although the Medicare system currently can’t sustain itself, with more money taken out for health care from every citizen’s taxes, the program might be able to be financed properly. Initially, there might be an objection–American’s are never fond of socialistic programs and government interference, but this system reduces the risk of financial ruin due to medical expenses. In the short term, families will have to pay against their will, but privately covering medical expenses would be more expensive. Worst case scenario, a family experiences a medical disaster and goes bankrupt. The transition would be big, but it has the highest chance of being accepted by the American people. The use of private care providers, makes it so the cost of treatment and drugs can be negotiated because of the incredible bargaining power of every citizen in the country vs. private providers.
The United States healthcare system has the potential to be great. With careful reform and a very “un-American” borrowing of ideas from other countries, we can make a system that helps our citizens in ways we didn’t think it would. This system needs to work for current and future generations, while being self sustaining. There is no doubt that we can’t have a spot in the top ten longest life expectancies.
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