We have the most expensive system in the world. Much of the debating comes from news of what works in other countries. However, what works for their smaller populations may not work for us.
It’s hard to imagine what other countries could possibly do differently. We’ve broken some of them down for you here.
Essentially everyone in the U.K. has access to free health care. Even visitors receive free emergency care! That comes with a different kind of price, though. As the U.K. tries to cut costs, quality of care decreases.
Australia’s health care system is called Medicare, but it is available for all citizens, not only seniors and Medicare eligibles. The program is almost entirely government-funded. 25% comes strictly through the Australian government and 43% comes from the Commonwealth.
In France, Patients pay with a card and receive 100% reimbursement later, minus one euro to help fund nation-wide health care activities. One euro is the equivalent of just a bit more than one USD. Special care and drugs are reimbursed at about 70% and patients have the option to purchase additional coverage.
Belgium has one of the most efficient health care systems worldwide. Care facilities, much like in the U.S., range from privately owned to government-run and non-profits. Citizens can choose whatever facility they want to visit, with no limitations on insurance.
Like in France, all Belgian patients use a care card at all of their appointments. Belgian cards will later provide reimbursement of up to 75%. Charges will come through payroll or a bank account.
Germany’s system is most similar to the U.S. Germans put about 13% of their income towards a federally-regulated health payment program. Uniquely, Germany often bundles accident and long-term insurance with their traditional health care plans. Germans can choose any health care facility they like. The unemployed, who make up about a third of the German population, are funded separately.
Sweden is very regulated since their health care system is 70% tax-funded. They have 21 councils throughout the country that regulate health care, social welfare, and water supplies. Treatments and drugs require a small fee. Drug costs are capped at the equivalent of $163 per year.
Our system is fundamentally similar to European systems in some ways. It’s easy to wonder if we may head towards a universal, U.K.-like system or at least a more centralized Belgian-like system. We could also head in another way entirely – it’s hard to say. Where do you think we’ll end up?