The U.S. seems stubbornly entrenched in this notion of market competition when it comes to healthcare, and the PowerPoint presentations only serve to solidify my view that we are lagging behind our global participants. Again, such competitiveness is appropriate across many industries, though I feel as if healthcare is simply not one of them. I, nor any of my close family members, have had any experience with health services in other countries. The most glaring feature of foreign systems that interests me is that of universality, which not only mandates coverage but reduces costs by eliminating price wars. Yes, this means more taxes coming out of our paychecks, though employer matching and reduction of massive billing when services actually occur is enough for me to accept this solution.
All of the presentations were great, though there were mainly two countries that caught my eye. First, Sweden is noteworthy because of its apparent philosophy that healthcare is synonymous with public instead of private funding. This is a concept I also align with, and was blown away when finding out that “private health insurance, in the form of supplementary coverage, accounts for less than 1 percent of health expenditures [and] in 2017, 633,000 individuals had private insurance, representing roughly 13 percent of all employed individuals ages 16 to 64 years” (link below). Privatization is clearly a rarity in Sweden and, while I understand the demand for a small portion of private specialists, primary care and long-term nursing feels like a much more public right. Second, Australia is also noteworthy because of its regulation of pharmaceuticals. Particularly, to be listed as an approved pharmaceutical subsidy, “the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee provides advice to the Minister for Health on the cost-effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals” (link below). Globally, I believe more strict measures should be in place to govern drug distribution and can only imagine the amount of pharmaceuticals that would have been denied if these sorts of controls were in place throughout the U.S.
Granted, the application of universal systems is likely much easier when total populations are less, which makes our current struggle understandable. Coupled with American exceptionalism, it is almost no wonder that our healthcare efforts have bloated to such proportion; yet we are reaching critical mass and alleviation is nearing necessity, so I look upon Sweden’s public philosophy, Australia’s pharmaceutical regulation, and Canada’s proximity/Medicare implementation as the most helpful guides. Additionally, I did not know Australia went through such long/arduous political turmoil to reach a solution, which serves as a positive lesson to assure us we can also find solace if we continue to properly advocate change.
From personal experience, I will always be pro Global healthcare and that is only because I have international experience myself. Being from Canada and transitioning to the United States for the last four years has been an interesting and eye opening experience in reference to healthcare, specifically. A specific example I can give you that I experienced within the international healthcare services was a few years back. One day I had thought that I broke my nose and I went to emergency care. The wait can sometimes be extensive, however that night it was not too crowded and I was brought in that night and assessed for injury. The resolution to the problem was easy and there was no hesitation when seeking care. I was able to go to the hospital without hesitation if something was wrong and that was the best feeling, besides the pain in my nose. In comparison to the United States I have seen and heard stories of personal experiences where people would not go to the hospital because of the fees and seek other care. Being that I have personal experience living in an international country, the particular feature within the foreign health care system of Canada that is most interesting to me and that I am most grateful for is the fact that healthcare is universal and available to everyone. The fact that the Canadian healthcare system allows individuals who need aid to get help without apprehension is both a blessing and a gift as it allows for the country to focus on the needs of the people and put out health first.
Based on the PowerPoint presentations on all the different countries and their healthcare systems, my thoughts on different healthcare systems can be summed up as other countries healthcare systems are more efficient and overall better for the population than the healthcare system in the United States. The prominent similarity within foreign countries’ healthcare systems was that they all had universal healthcare. The way their healthcare system maneuvered contrasted a bit, as every country had their own spin on how they operated their healthcare system. However, it was evident with universal coverage that the main objective within the countries was focused on the needs of the patient as opposed to the money motivated mindset of the United States healthcare system. If given the opportunity, a system that I would like to know better or interact with would be the Australian healthcare system, as it was close to the Canadian healthcare system. however there were different discrepancies that I would actually like to have personal experience on to better understand how the system operates.
Personally, I would recommend the Canadian healthcare system to the US for any future national healthcare reforms. The US has a complex, yet disastrous and inefficient healthcare system. There’s no saying that it can be fixed while mimicking the operations of another country however, as the two countries are so close in proximity and often work together I see this country as a model that is both feasible and attainable for the US. Goals of health reform that are most important to me in relation to the US healthcare system are making the system more affordable with cost and efficient with care. The US is focused on treating the symptoms instead of curing the problem and I believe the mindset of the healthcare system needs to shift from putting a Band-Aid on the problems to preventing and fixing the issue. Physicians are encouraged to do more to make more and that prods forward the issue of a money motivated system. Instead of taking the time to understand the patient and assess the issues, time efficiency and quick, expensive solutions are encouraged. The idea that patients may not receive care due to insufficient funds is a sad truth within the US healthcare system. Goals that I wish would be attained within this healthcare system is allowing everyone to be provided treatment when needed and removing any barriers that don’t allow that to be possible. The inclusion of a universal healthcare system is an important factor to add within the United States as access to care is necessary for those who seek aid and removing that restraint may push forward to a new and necessary change within the system.
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