Health care is a critical component of any form of the social field, where the goal is to improve public health by preventing or treating illnesses. The main role of health care is rooted in the notion of developing the key policy-based acts for a society. In addition to prevention and treatment, it can be considered a critical aspect of national security, where the key target is ensuring proper public health levels. The implementation of the main tasks of health care is facilitated by an effective state policy.
Different countries have developed different health care systems, and their types are primarily linked to the socio-economic and political structure of the nations. One can distinguish three main types of health care systems, where the key distinctive elements can be seen in the ownership, financing, and integration. Although each nation has a different health care structuration measure, they all can be divided into three key forms, where they are either fully state-owned, private, and insurance-based. The examples of health care systems owned by the corresponding states are Denmark, Ireland, Cuba, China, Sweden, Norway, and Great Britain. Examples of private health care systems are Latin American nations and the United States. Examples of insurance-based countries are Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Holland, France, and Germany.
Healthcare in Canada
The backbone of Canada’s system of health care is primary care physicians, such as family doctors, who comprise nearly half of all practicing doctors in the country. They control access to most specialized professionals, hospital care, diagnostic procedures, and prescription drugs. The choice of the family doctor is made by the patient independently, it can be changed, although due to the heavy workload, the doctor can regulate the number of families served and refuse to manage new patients.
The specificity of the health care industry in Canada is manifested in the fact that it is highly decentralized, where all essential planning takes place at the province and district levels. The same functions, such as financing and evaluation, are also undertaken in a decentralized manner because the federal government is only responsible for setting general directions through fundamental policies. Canada integrated a nationwide public health insurance system in 1972, which enabled its citizens to have their most important medical needs covered by the program (Montague et al., 2018). It is important to add that all levels of governments, such as regional health administrations, the territorial governments, and the federal government, are focused on monitoring and regulating the health care providers, which can be both private and public. Therefore, this is an example of a national health insurance system, where the population and governmental agencies are coordinated and interrelated through a wide range of non-profit public In 1984, the Canadian Health Care Act established five core principles in order to provide health care in a proper manner. These are mainly related to the insurance system, where the features are universality, availability, comprehensive, portability, and public administration. The government is administered through government-accountable non-profit organizations set up in each province to handle all health insurance payments (Ridic et al., 2012). Portability means that health insurance in Canada is not secured to the place of work and residence. Comprehensiveness is rooted in the fact that coverage includes inpatient stays, nursing, diagnostics, use of drugs, operating theaters, and other equipment, and home care and medication in outpatient care. However, the volume of services provided is not the same in different provinces, and in some, even within one. Availability is ensured by the notion of ensuring that medical services are provided on a general basis, without payment, in addition to the policy. At the same time, dental care is paid for. Canadians are not assigned to doctors and can go to the medical facility of their choice. Universality is based on every citizen of the state having the right to health insurance on uniform terms.]
Healthcare in the US
The US health care system was developed and established under the conditions of a free market, where the government has little to no influence on the regulatory and managerial aspects of the given sector. The American health care model can be considered unique in the world because it is among highly successful and strong systems, which is primarily dominated by private means of financing and development. In addition, the government also plays a central role in regulating the health care system through support programs and policymaking. In other words, the United States is a prime example of a public-private framework, where managerial aspects are partially decentralized with power and autonomy transferred to the individual states. However, the federal government is a major element in integrating comprehensive and systemic regulatory implementations.
In order to properly illustrate the model of the private-public health care system of the United States, one should be aware of key structural elements, which include the health insurance approach and other guarantors of the health care provision:
- Government health insurance programs.
- The network of state hospitals for military personnel.
- Local, municipal, and district programs.
- Compulsory private health insurance for employees.
- Self-payment of medical expenses by citizens.
Many Americans without private insurance are eligible for government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other regional low-income programs. On average, more than 20% of all physicians and more than 30% of all hospital services are paid for by government programs, primarily Medicare and Medicaid. For 5,700 medical institutions, participation in these programs is the only source of income (Vogenberg, 2019).
The American health care system and its policy-making aspects is evidently impactful on the economic element of the social concerns since the majority of the population utilizes private means of financing the medical services. It is important to note that the authority units within the system control and monitor the main shifts through a proper incentive setup, environmental regulation, and systematically rigid legislative processes. For example, the major role of HHS is rooted in the fact that it is responsible for assessing and predicting the state of health as well as the well-being of the population. In the case of the National Institute of Health or NIH, its primary focus lies in supporting scientific research in the field of medicine in order to promote a gradual and constant advancement in both knowledges and practice among medical institutions through scientific means.
In the United States, there are mainly two governmental health care programs, which are Medicare and Medicaid. The latter is designed in form of health insurance for people with lower socioeconomic status factors, such as low income, where the government provides financial assistance to eligible individuals. In the case of Medicare, it targets vulnerable populations by ensuring people with disabilities and older adults, whose age is 65 or older. The general functions involve financial assistance, immunizations services, disease prevention, and medicine and food safety control.
Expanding Medicare and Medicaid can be a major boost in the general healthcare system of the United States. It is important to note that policy-making approaches should shift towards a heavier tax dollar investment in the development of a social safety net. Both Medicare and Medicaid combined cover only the ones who are old or have low income. However, expanding the eligibility levels might prove to be useful in order to contain the future risks because public health issues, such as the obesity epidemic or diabetes, can be highly detrimental to society in the long run. It is especially true under the current condition of a pandemic, where people with metabolic diseases are hit harder by the virus than healthy individuals.
Montague, T., Cochrane, B., Gogovor, A., Aylen, J., Martin, L., & Nemis-White, J. (2018). Healthcare in Canada: Choices going forward. Healthcare Quarterly, 21(1), 13-18. Web.
Ridic, G., Gleason, S., & Ridic, O. (2012). Comparisons of health care systems in the United States, Germany and Canada. Material Socio-Medica, 24(2), 112-120. Web.
Vogenberg F. R. (2019). US healthcare trends and contradictions in 2019. American Health & Drug Benefits, 12(1), 40-47. Web.