International Health Policy for the United States

Introduction

The characteristics of different approaches to addressing health care policies for citizens vary across countries. Braithwaite et al. (2017) state that the Commonwealth Fund determines promising practices that contribute to creating a high-performing healthcare system in the United States. A comparative analysis based upon its report might provide a valuable insight into studying the ways to improve the health care system of the United States.

Care Process

In terms of the care process, the United States shows excellent performance by ranking fifth among 11 countries, with the United Kingdom ranked first and Sweden last. The United States proves a high rate on measures of prevention, safety, and engagement. The U.S. has a tendency towards “a doctor-patient relationship and operates better in wellness counselling” (Schneider et al., 2017, para. 11). However, the country shows poorer results on coordination measures, as well as lags behind on avoidable hospital admissions. Considering the high rates of the U.K. and Australia, the United States should enhance safety measures, as well as patient engagement.

Equity and Access

The United States is placed last in the Access domain because of the lower output on the affordability; the Netherlands is ranked first. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden are top performers in the equity of health systems concerning access and care process. The United States has larger gaps between lower- and higher-income adults, which is caused by financial barriers. Blank, Burau, and Kuhlmann (2018) state that the share of health-care costs that come from public funds is “an important indicator of equity in health system” (p. 280). Furthermore, a crucial measure for health equity is the elimination of health disparities. As described by Blank et al. (2018), Germany and the Netherlands aimed at strengthening their health systems prior to World War II, while the United Kingdom and Sweden set up new methods to achieve these goals. The United States, however, did not establish the national system and, hence, did not obtain universal access.

Administrative Efficiency and Health Care Outcomes

The United States is placed 10th on Administrative Efficiency concerning the issues with coverage restrictions. The leading countries in this domain are Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Norway. In Health Care Outcomes, the United States takes the last place with poor performance on infant mortality and life expectancy at age 60, as well as the highest output of mortality. However, the country performs well on 30-day in-hospital mortality after a heart attack or stroke and on the breast cancer five-year relative survival rate.

Lessons for the United States

In Administrative Efficiency, the U.S. can take a cue from the Netherlands that decrease some of the issues by standardizing basic benefit packages, which can lessen the administrative workload for providers and enable the predictable copayments for patients. With regard to the U.K., it is centralized and has more direct management accountability to the government compared to other health systems (Schneider et al., 2017). Furthermore, the U.K. invested in its National Health Service, improving primary care and cancer care, as well as increasing health care spending (Schneider et al., 2017). Such a reform might have facilitated the rapid decrease in mortality in the U.K. and can be a good model for the American health policy. The United States can also draw a lesson from Australia and its single-payer insurance program. Australian citizens are covered under the public insurance plan that is funded through taxes. However, it has minor public involvement in care delivery as half of the population invest in private health insurance to get care outside the government system.

Conclusion

The measures of insurance, payment, and delivery system of the ACA in the U.S. advanced some elements of health policies, but the country still lags behind other leaders with universal health insurance coverage. Amongst the countries that show the highest output in health care system, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands might significantly contribute to the improvement of the health policy in the United States. Analyzed health care systems in these countries might be exemplary for the United States to advance its care system.

References

Blank, R., Burau, V., & Kuhlmann, E. (2018). Comparative health policy (5th ed.). London, United Kingdom: Palgrave.

Braithwaite, J., Hibbert, P., Blakely, B., Plumb, J., Hannaford, N., Long, J., & Marks, D. (2017). Health system frameworks and performance indicators in eight countries: A comparative international analysis. SAGE Open Medicine, 5, 1-10. Web.

Schneider, E., Sarnak, D., Squires, D., Shah, A., & Doty, M. (2017). Mirror, mirror 2017: International comparison reflects flaws and opportunities for better U.S. health care. Web.