US Healthcare System Compared to World Practices

The US healthcare system is complex, and its efficiency is questionable due to high costs, low health indicators, errors, and other issues affecting the population of the country. While the practices applied by the US medical professionals are considered to be among the most effective in the world, the high costs of services are a severe problem. Moreover, the price is expected to increase in the following years limiting access to care for some individuals. This discussion post provides a brief assessment of the existing healthcare system in the US and compares it to that in Japan, Switzerland, and France.

Both public and private resources are available in accordance with the existing system. Niles (2018) stated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was one of the crucial legislating for the country that changes a focus towards primary care. However, the basis for the system is reimbursement from insurers that allows medical establishments to set different prices, and most costs for medical care and medication are incredibly high.

Ruggles, Xiong, and Kyle (2019) argued that “the US healthcare system includes many diverse types of insurance plans and programs, with the main sources being the federal government, state governments, commercial insurers, and self-insurance.” (p. 56). In comparison, the healthcare systems in France, Switzerland, and Japan are more efficient since they rank higher than the US in their health indicators.

The components of these systems which relate to that in the US are different coverage programs for individuals. For instance, Japan has social insurance and welfare, as well as public assistance and health coverage (Niles, 2018). In contrast, the US offers Medicare and Medicaid to its citizens, which allows individuals to seek professional help. In all four counties, overall spending on healthcare is high and accounts for a large portion of the budget, which is another similarity (Papanicolas, Woskie, & Jha, 2018). However, France and Switzerland are able to save costs by regulating the prices of medication.

Several lessons can be learned from examining these systems. Firstly, a single-payer strategy allows all individuals to receive necessary medical procedures without worrying about the cost. In Japan, local governments have to ensure that citizens are enrolled in one of the public health coverage programs, which can be adopted by the US (Nielsen, 2018). Additionally, in France, 20% of an individual’s salary is automatically transferred to health insurance needs.

The US can attempt to implement a similar system to ensure that one’s payroll automatically accounts for healthcare expenses. However, this requires a change in the overall approach to reimbursement and a centralized institution. Another strategy is offered by Switzerland, where all individuals have to purchase insurance, and people with better health pay more to cover the cost of treating less healthy individuals.

These approaches will allow the US to ensure universal coverage for all citizens. One concern is that the approach taken by the discussed countries will limit the ability of health institutions to develop and implement innovation. Japan, for instance, is unable to apply new technologies as successfully as the US.

Overall, it is evident that several issues affect the efficiency of the US healthcare system. While the approaches adopted by Japan, Switzerland, and France appear to offer more benefits due to the universal coverage for all citizens, these states experience difficulties as well. All four countries spend large amounts of money to cover the cost of medical procedures. The US can benefit from adopting some elements of these systems.

References

Niles, N. (2018). Basics of the US healthcare system (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning.

Papanicolas, I., Woskie, L., & Jha, A. (2018). Health care spending in the United States and other high-income countries. JAMA, 319(10), 1024-1039. Web.

Ruggles, B., Xiong, A., & Kyle, B. (2019). Healthcare coverage in the US and Japan. Nursing, 49(4), 56-60. Web.