Universal healthcare (part 1)

With all the partisan bickering about the ACA (Obamacare) and the recent Supreme Court ruling, this week blog forms a two-part series on Universal Healthcare

What is Universal healthcare

Universal health care is a system that provides quality medical services to all citizens; all residents of a particular country are assured access to health care. It is offered to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.   

Thirty-two countries in the world have adopted some sort of a Universal Health Care system. The U.S.  being the only wealthy, industrialized nation without universal health care.

There are three broad universal health care models:

  1. single payer,
  2. mandatory insurance, and
  3. national health insurance

Single-Payer Model (the Beveridge Model)

Exampled by the UK and Cuba

Here, the government provides health care paid for with revenue from income taxes. Both services and providers are government-owned and employed; Every citizen has the same access to care. Interestingly, the United States offers this model to veterans and military personnel with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the armed forces

Social Health Insurance Model (Bismarck model)

Exampled by the Germany and France

Under this model all citizens are required to buy insurance usually through their employers. Employers deduct taxes from employee payroll to cover the costs, and the taxes go into a government-run health insurance fund that covers everyone. The Obamacare is based on this model.

National Health Insurance

Exampled by the Canada and Taiwan

The national health insurance model uses public insurance to pay for private-practice care. Every citizen pays into the national insurance plan. Administrative costs are lower because there is one insurance company and the government having a lot of leverage to force medical costs down. The U.S. Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE systems are based on a national health insurance approach

 The United States (generally) has a mixture of government-run and private insurance; Data has shown about 68% of Americans have private health insurance, mostly from their employers. With another 34.1% having government coverage (Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and the VA). 8% of the population have no coverage at all, of note almost 20% of the nonelderly population lacks health insurance at any given time.

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