Healthcare delivery systems refer to the organization of resources, institutions, and people intended to provide healthcare services to particular populations. Health systems vary substantially across the world. In fact, the organizational structures and history is unique in each country. Some states have distributed health system planning amongst market stakeholders. On the contrary, other countries have concentrated energy among religious organizations, governments, trade unions and other united institutions to provide organized health care services customized to target populations. The objective of this essay is comparing similarities and differences between various international health care systems across the globe. One of the major health care delivery programs in the United States includes group health insurance plans. The health system emerged during World War II. The employers began offering employee benefits in the form of affordable healthcare services to attract the limited labor supply. Since then, many healthcare reforms implemented in the United States from the 1970s has enhanced this philosophy (Yih, 2010).
Currently, US has over 1200 insurance companies that give group health insurance programs. The objective of group insurance plans is providing employees with affordable, high quality and efficient healthcare services (Cooper & Taylor, 1994). The Medicare program is another healthcare delivery system intended for retirees above sixty-five years. The service differs from group health insurance plan in that the beneficiaries are unemployed, and the government pays for the individuals’ treatment cost. For younger and poorer American citizens below sixty-five years, the government has established Medicaid healthcare delivery system to offer free medical services. Eligible candidates for the Medicaid program include poor individuals that cannot afford the service and non-beneficiaries of subsidized healthcare systems such as the group insurance (Cooper & Taylor, 1994). In addition to these methods, the US has a variety of other healthcare systems intended for the uninsured. The programs include the Veterans Administration, military and Native Americans among others.
These programs are extremely complex since they have varied the reimbursement, underwriting, benefit and eligibility (McCarthy & Schafermeyer, 2007). Canada uses a healthcare delivery program called “Single payer system.” The intention of establishing the system is ensuring healthcare equality among all the citizens. The coverage of the plan is universal and comprehensive. The provincial governments provide funds for the compulsory medical care using tax money (McCarthy & Schafermeyer, 2007). However, the federal government contributes and controls some of the money the provincial administrations contribute to the citizens’ healthcare plans. Patients are independent to choose their preferred healthcare provider. Majority of the physicians in Canada have private practices that they charge a fee based on services they provide. Many hospitals are not-for-profit institutions that are managed by trustee boards. The modern healthcare delivery system in Canada began in Saskatchewan in the 1950s and then spread to the entire nation by 1966 (Baribault & Cloyd, 1999). Japan provides medical services to every citizen using employer-financed insurance plan. The aim of using employer-based program is controlling the cost of healthcare expenses.
The result of the plan is a substantially healthy nation at one of the most affordable healthcare cost in the world (Yih, 2010). The country has a variety of insurance programs that are funded using various obligatory deductions, patient co-payments, and taxes. Patients have the liberty of choosing their preferred healthcare providers (McCarthy & Schafermeyer, 2007). On the other hand, healthcare delivery providers are compensated using a national rate and formula negotiated by a panel composed of citizens, insurers, and providers. The government has set a price limit to control price increase of policies at a given time. The main benefit of the restricted policy price is equitable access and affordable healthcare program (Baribault & Cloyd, 1999). Japan established its present healthcare program in 1922 as the government believed that a healthy nation was necessary to maintain the nation productive and affluent. Initially, Japan intended the program to serve manual laborers, but the country amended its constitution after World War II to make the program compulsory to everyone (Cooper & Taylor, 1994).
American healthcare delivery system differs from that in Canada and Japan in that the government has not set healthcare systems’ price limit. As a result, the healthcare cost varies from one provider to the other. The economic law of demand and supply also determines the cost of healthcare services, which makes American medical care programs among the most expensive in the world. In the United States, several doctors are directly employed in public hospitals while many healthcare professionals in Canada have private practices (Baribault & Cloyd, 1999). On the contrary, health care delivery systems in Japan, Canada, and the USA have similarities such as liberty to choose from several healthcare providers. In addition, insurance programs play an essential role in providing affordable healthcare plans to every citizen. Each country also offers fully sponsored or subsidized healthcare services to the extremely poor, army veterans and other specialized group that may not afford to make regular contributions towards the healthcare services (Baribault & Cloyd, 1999).
Employers are supposed to deduct some cash from their employees’ salary, and provide either a hundred or two hundred percent match to the deduction, to pay for healthcare insurance (Cooper & Taylor, 1994). In my view, I would recommend sickness fund healthcare system as it has proven functional in countries such as Germany. Germany’s trade guilds established the initial health system in 1883 that the government applied as a model to create the country’s “sickness funds”. The objective of the system is financing, paying and providing healthcare services. It integrates decision-making and decentralized power with efficient bargaining power that occurs at local, federal and state levels. Germans have solidarity and believe that everyone is entitled to access quality medical services irrespective of their capability to pay, income or employment. Similarly, if other countries in the world can adopt such a healthcare system, everybody would have access to quality healthcare services.
Patients covered by the program can access affordable health care services universally (Cooper & Taylor, 1994). Some of the services that sickness fund covers include drugs and dental care services. It also provides young mothers’ grants, money for purchasing eyeglasses and compensation wages when individuals are sick. Since sickness funds do not offer healthcare coverage for some issues, individuals can purchase health insurance plans for the uncovered services. Everybody in Germany is supposed to be a member of a sickness fund, except the wealthy persons that can afford private health insurance. I believe the world’s population would have access to quality health care services required for maintaining healthy nations (Baribault & Cloyd, 1999).
Cooper E. & Taylor L. (1994). Comparing Health Care Systems: What makes sense for the US? Context Institute. Web, retrieved on January 18, 2015 from http://www.context.org/iclib/ic39/cooptalr/ Baribault, M. & Cloyd, C. (1999). Health Care Systems: Three International Comparisons. Ethics of Development in Global Environment. McCarthy, R. L., & Schafermeyer, K. W. (2007). Introduction to health care delivery: A primer for pharmacists. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett. Yih, Y. (2010). Handbook of Healthcare Delivery Systems. CRC Press.