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Healthcare in the United States Essay

Health care around the world is very different. The United States is a pluralistic, privately owned system. They are technology driven, and an insurance based type of health care. They have issues with the cost rising versus the people receiving benefits. Germany, Canada, and Great Britain all use a universal type of health care where they believe all citizens should have moderate access to treatments. Germany uses Socialized Health Insurance. Canada uses National Health Insurance that is divided among its provinces and territories. Finally, Great Britain uses Socialized Health Insurance. Key Words: Health care, United States, Germany, Great Britain, Canada. The United States of America is based upon principles set forth by our founding fathers. “We the people by the people” is one of the principles that we still live by today. This is a value that we implement in all sects of government, including health care. The United States has a health care system that is mostly privately owned. The government usually steps in when needed. Such cases involve money for vulnerable populations, fundraising, and training individuals in the healthcare field. There are many characteristics of our healthcare system that are vastly different than other countries such as: Germany, Canada, and Great Britain.

While the United States’ healthcare is mostly managed by private sectors, their healthcare is predominantly run and financed by the government. Growth in science has led for an essential need for new technology. Hospitals are constantly competing and advertising new technology. Why compete for new technology? Many healthcare providers and holders of heath care plans feel that there are great legal risks involved when new technology has not been implemented. Other stakeholders that desire modern technology are the patients and the physicians. Patients now desire to use new technology because they assume that it has greater benefits than the old method. Physicians also want to tinker with the new tools that modern day society has developed. In the United States, access to health care is based on insurance coverage. You may receive the service through four major avenues. Firstly, the public may join a government healthcare program such as Medicare or Medicaid to receive benefits. Secondly, employers can provide insurance to their employees. Thirdly, an individual with the means to afford healthcare may purchase insurance on their own.

Finally, people may pay for services individually. However, there are some Americans who have chosen not to have insurance. “In 2006, forty-seven million people (58.8% of the population) were uninsured, meaning they were not covered by any program, public or private” (jblearning.com). When someone is uninsured they have a few options. One option is to pay out of pocket for the individual services that they require. The second option is to access Federal Fund Centers, and the third option is to pursue treatment for their acute illness. When a citizen seeks treatment, hospitals are required to give them care due to the implement of The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986. This law states that a few tasks must be completed regardless of the patient’s ability to pay the hospital. The patient must first be admitted to the hospital and then given a physical scan. Following the scan the individual should be given the appropriate care in order to stabilize them. Furthermore, a major characteristic of health care in the United States is the exorbitant amount of money it costs to receive health care.

As a nation, we spend more than any other country in the world on providing health care to our citizens. Although we are spending a large amount of the countries deficit, we are seeing little progress in providing access to the masses. Healthcare is one of the largest contributing factors to the United States’ GDP with a cost of over 2.7 trillion dollars (Sultz, 1997, p.1). With such cost, innovations and expansions are inevitable. The new technology has undoubtedly helped advance the longevity of people’s lives, but it has also raised the cost of being able to access the treatments. People with better insurance or a greater need for the service may get an unfair advantage in receiving these services. This advantage causes a moral dilemma for the physician and the Health Care Administration (HCA) staff. Physicians and staff need to make sure that the old method is no longer as great as the new technology. This will keep costs down and allow for a greater amount of people to receive the treatment that they need. The United States is based on a health care system where individuals must purchase their own insurance while still paying taxes to fund other government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. As with any health care system, issues may arise.

A key issue deals with employers and employees. In many cases, employers provide a healthcare program to their workers. What if the employee is a part-time worker? In such instances, many employers do not offer such benefits for individuals who are not on the clock full-time. As we all know, health care in the United States is the most expensive care in the world. The issues with this expense are many. While costs are already high, they are only going to continue to sky-rocket. Another issue with cost is that while Americans are spending an outrageous amount of money, they are not reaping the benefits. Millions of Americans are still unable to receive the proper health care because they are unable to afford insurance. Unlike the United States, most European countries have national health care. The United States and European countries differ substantially in the way they conduct medical care for their citizens. These health care programs provide care for all citizens, known as “universal health care.”

Universal healthcare is a blanket term meaning there are different sub-divisions that stem from this type of care. Germany, Canada and, Great Britain all have different types of universal healthcare. Germany is a socialized health care country. Socialized health care means that funds are contributed by employers and employees because of government mandates. The Germanic government is in overall control of all procedures. However, there are still private delivery programs that help with carrying out the health care processes in Germany. “All Germans with incomes under €46,300 are required to enroll in one of the sickness funds” (healthcare-economist.com). Higher income citizens may opt for private care or join a federal sickness fund. The federal government decides what benefits to add to this package. Sickness funds are provided through a pay roll tax which is taken from the employer and the employee. Less than ten percent of the population decides to use private insurance. Insurance and payments using the federal sickness fund are closely related in the socialized healthcare system.

Many believe that carrying out procedures in this manner provides a more orderly healthcare in comparison to the United States. Canada uses a different form of healthcare known as the National Health Insurance System or commonly referred to as Medicare. This form of insurance “was initially established in the Medical Care Act of 1966 providing fifty-fifty cost sharing” (jblearning.com). General taxes collected by the government are what finances the healthcare system but private providers deliver the care. The government decides how the insurance plans ultimately work. Canada has ten provinces and three territories that carry out the functions of the healthcare while the government oversees their actions. All Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for health insurance in Canada. Unlike America, Canada’s system is built to facilitate people’s need for health care rather than their ability to pay for services. Medicare is intended to assist all Canadian residents so that they have reasonable access to hospitals and physicians. Canada has a multi-part insurance plan for the provinces and territories. Each has similar features and standards that come together to form Canada’s health care plan. When a resident arrives at the health care facility they simply show their health care card.

Most services are covered by taxes paid to the government. However, in some cases you will need private health care because policies are slightly different when traveling from a province to a territory. Finally, Great Britain’s health care is provided through the National Healthcare Service. Like Canada, their system of health care is designed to help all the citizens receive health care. Great Britain’s system is publically funded through general taxes of the people. For a single-payer health care system, the cost of providing care is relatively low. However, there are limited options in choosing your provider as well as a long waiting list to see them. “There are 750,000 Britons on the waiting lists for hospital admission; 40% of cancer patients are never able to see an oncologist; there is explicit rationing for services such as kidney dialysis, open heart surgery and care for the terminally ill”(Healthcare-economist.com).

This is why a very small percent of the citizens choose t pay for private health care which is almost the same as generic health care but with better care and quicker waiting times. This health care is almost the same as the generic insurance Great Britain provides but it has shorter waiting times and better quality care. Another feature of this system is that there are no deductibles and almost no co-pay. In summary, the United States has a very different system of health care than Germany, Canada, and Great Britain. The United States is private, whereas the other countries are mostly publicly run by the government. Every system of health care has its pitfalls. Today, politicians and the public are trying to find a way to maximize the efficiency of cost, access and quality.


ltz, H., & Young, K. (1997). Health care USA: Understanding its organization and delivery (8th ed., p. 1). Gaithersburg, Md.: Aspen.

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