The Universal Healthcare System in the US and Other Countries

Topic: Administration
Words: 2211 Pages: 8


Health care is a primarily social and political concern in the United States, with most voters citing it as the most significant consideration when casting their ballots. The United States’ health care traditionally has been a mix of public and private care. A vital component of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act (ACA) was expanding health care coverage for millions of Americans. For example, through the expansion of Medicaid, the creation of health insurance markets for private insurance, including citizens of all income levels, ages, races, and ethnicities. (Martin 1723). As a result of this method, people or businesses can receive health insurance from commercial insurance firms such as Blue Cross Blue Shield or Kaiser Permanente. However, individuals may also be eligible for government-subsidized health insurance, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Veterans Affairs. Instead, post-industrial and Westernized nations have employed various methods to provide universal health care, independent of socioeconomic status (SES), employment, or financial means to afford it. For the WHO, universal health care means ensuring everyone has access to high-quality, cost-effective healthcare. For instance, preventative care and support services, and no one is turned away because they cannot afford them.

UHC entails that all people and communities can access the necessary medical care without facing severe financial hardship. It comprises the full range of fundamental, high-quality healthcare services, from health maintenance through disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, to rehabilitation and palliative care throughout life. These services must be provided by sufficient and capable health and care workers who are evenly dispersed, supported, and have decent jobs. These employees should have the right combination of facility, outreach, and community-level skills. Everyone has access to services that address the underlying causes of illness and death. UHC initiatives also ensure that these services are of a high enough standard to improve beneficiaries’ health.

The government can protect people from the financial consequences of covering their medical expenses from the budget by reducing the chances that they will become financially impoverished. This is because an unexpected illness will force them to waste all their savings, sell off their possessions, or borrow, which often destroys their children’s futures. When the SDGs were adopted by the world’s governments in 2015, achieving UHC was one of their objectives (Martin 1723). At the 2019 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the UNHCR, countries reaffirmed their commitment (Martin 1723). This allows the development a common strategy to enhance the quality of health care delivery.

The concept of universal health care can assume many different forms. Few options and minimal use of private healthcare are available to those the U.K.’s National Health Service covers. E.U. countries such as the Netherlands and Germany have instead utilized a hybrid system that includes government and market elements. For example, Germany’s multi-payer health care system allows low-income citizens to get subsidized health care. At the same time, higher-income persons have access to private options that give the same quality and level of care as the subsidized option. Hence, universal health care does not necessarily remove the role of private health care providers but rather assures that equity and efficiency of care be the reference and expectation for health care as a whole (Formenti 1). Consequently, countries with different political histories have implemented various forms of universal health care. These countries include those with extremely high levels of economic freedom.

Argument on Universal Healthcare

Only a few post-industrial Western countries, including the United States, are as large, populated, or ethnically/racially varied as the rest of the Western world. As a country with a diverse population, the United States is home to people with a wide range of religious and political convictions. The differences in climate and population density in the U.S. cause a wide range of health problems (Jones 601). Others in the United States suggest that implementing universal health care in this country will be less feasible than in other industrialized nations. Indeed, implementing universal health care in the U.S. would necessitate a huge investment of time and resources.

The expansion of the range of services provided and the growth of people covered leads to costs. From the U.S health report, 9.7 % of the population was uninsured (Wu 2049). There were 3.7 million uninsured children and 27.5 million uninsured working-age adults in the United States, representing a combined 5.0% of the population (Wu 2049). The age of working-age persons who had been uninsured for more than a year was more than double that of those who had been uninsured for less than a year (4.0 % ) (Wu 2049). It was the same among youngsters (2.3 %) as it was among adults who had been uninsured for less than a year (2.4 %) (Martin 1728). Uninsured adults of working age outnumbered uninsured children across all age groups and all duration subgroups.

In order to establish the current insurance situation, there are periodic research studies. Approximately 173.8 million of those polled had private health insurance. About 56.6 % of the population is covered by employment-based insurance. Non-Hispanic whites (74.6 %) and non-Hispanic Asians (74.6 %) had the highest age of private coverage, followed by non-Hispanic individuals of other and more races (51.2 %), non-Hispanic blacks (48.6 %), and Hispanics (44.9 %) (Kipo-Sunyehzi 103). While Hispanics (4.5 %) and whites (3.8 %) and blacks (3.0 %), and individuals of other and multiple races were all underrepresented in the exchange-based coverage, non-Hispanic Asians (7.5%) had the highest age (2.5 %) (Ebi 11). People of Hispanic descent were more likely than non-Hispanic races to have exchange-based coverage (Jones e604). Increases in exchange-based coverage were seen for those with incomes below 100 % of the federal poverty level (2.3 %) through those earning between 139 and 250 % of the federal poverty level (6.4 %), before decreasing for families earning more than 400 % of the federal poverty level (0.4 %) (2.8 %) (Ebi 7). Thus, some populations have a lower share of insurance, but it is increasing.

It is essential to mention that there are statistics about people’s social security. Since Medicare covers all health care costs practically for people 65 and older in the U.S., very few are uninsured. This includes 20.7 % of the population covered by Medicaid and CHIP, 3.6 % of the military, and 3.3 % of Medicare beneficiaries (Chaudhary 163). Non-Hispanic blacks had the highest public coverage (42.6 %) compared to Hispanics (34.3 %), non-Hispanic whites (20.2 %), and non-Hispanic Asians (18.9 %) (Weaver 2114734). Non-Hispanic whites (38.1%) and non-Hispanic Asians (38.6%) had better access to information than either non-Hispanic whites or non-Hispanic Asians (Formenti 2). Accordingly, Universal Healthcare has an insurance system that enables the underserved population to protect their health.

How Costly is the Healthcare System in the U.S

The healthcare expense in the United States is among the highest in the world. Comparatively, in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the average health care expenditure per person is about a third of what it is in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic led to an even higher cost of medical services (Wu 2050). Medical expenses have risen steadily in recent decades, reaching 18% in 2019 (before COVID-19) and 20% in 2020 when measured against GDP (Formenti 2). Health care reform is a timely theme in the United States and around the world. Comparing the U.S. healthcare system with other countries will provide a better understanding of healthcare capacity, especially in the Canadian healthcare system. The Canadian experience will clarify misunderstandings and improve the understandability of decisions.

The Argument on Canada

Medical insurance policies in Canada and the United States are vastly different. Health care is available to all Canadians and permanent residents, yet research shows that only 7% of Americans have adequate health insurance. There could be an issue with access in Canada and the United States. In Canada, 5% of people have never been able to find a regular doctor, and another 9% have never sought one. Outpatient clinics and emergency rooms, on the other hand, are still covered by insurance (Martin 1726). The government of Canada pays for emergency department treatment for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are in the country legally (Jones e603).

Compared to Canadians and insured Americans, Americans without health insurance have reported lower satisfaction levels. Another cross-country study evaluated the availability of health care in Canada and the United States based on immigration status. For immigrants, access to care was significantly worse than for non-immigrants in both countries, according to the data (Kipo-Sunyehzi 97). Canadian immigrants were less likely than native Canadians to have timely Pap tests.

There was a difference between immigrants from Canada and the United States regarding Pap smears. In the United States, people from low- and middle-income backgrounds have a more challenging time getting health insurance than individuals from higher socioeconomic backgrounds in Canada (Martin 1730). The Cato Institute expressed that the U.S. government had restricted the ability of Medicare patients to spend their own money on health care and compared the situation in Canada, where the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the province of Quebec could not prohibit its citizens from purchasing covered services through private health insurance in 2005 (Kipo-Sunyehzi 97). In order to restore the right of America’s seniors to spend their own money on health care, the institute urged Congress to ensure it.

The Argument on Great Britain

Depending on their scope of activity, there are several groups of health care trusts. The main ones are primary care trusts, which are involved in the provision of first aid and public health organization. At the end of 2006, these organizations were reduced from 303 to 152 in a government plan to improve management efficiency and reduce costs (Weaver 2114734). The primary care institutions are responsible for the work of 29,000 general practitioners and 18,000 state dentists. Specifically, these local organizations together comprise the base of the NHS and spend 80% of the total health care budget (Weaver 2114734). It is also important that the Department of Health grants primary care trusts the right to use outsourcing tactics. That is, use private health care providers to allocate resources more rationally. This approach is highly effective in cases where the necessary intervention is classified as urgent.

Most other organizations that are not primary care trusts are referred to as NHS trusts without specifying specific functions. NHS Trusts administer most hospitals and are responsible for specialist health care, particularly mental health. The role of these organizations is to provide high-quality services and to ensure that budgets are spent wisely. It is significant to mention that the private health care sector in the UK is considerably smaller than the NHS and does not have such a variety of facilities (Weaver 2114735). Non-public health insurance is becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, and many policies have been developed for all population groups. Many employers are introducing commercial insurance as an element of the benefits package or offering it as part of the salary. Although, the primary care trusts already described have the central role in directly allocating NHS financial resources (Weaver 2114735). This is because they are accountable for paying for the services of general practitioners and relevant hospital departments.

The Counterargument

The presence of health insurance does not equal universal access to health care. In practice, many countries have insurance for everyone, but medical services are “rationed,” or people have to queue for treatment for a long time (Martin 1725). The rising cost of health care is not specific to the United States. Although in other countries, these costs represent a significantly lower percentage of total GDP and GDP per capita Martin 1728). They are rising almost everywhere, generating budget deficits, tax increases, and cuts in social benefits. In countries emphasizing government control of health care, citizens are most likely to face problems. These are expectations, rationing of services, restrictions on physician choice, and other barriers to health care.

Indeed, there is a challenge in the global health care system concerning access to insurance for all population segments without discrimination. However, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are implementing measures to overcome this problem. For instance, Medicare was introduced in the U.S. and other assistance to the unprotected segments of society (Chaudhary 163). Therefore, the unprotected categories of the population are the first to receive funding to pay for medical care. Moreover, support for private practice reduces hospital waiting lines and allows everyone to select a physician who responds to the needs of their clients. For example, in Britain, state insurance is available to patients of private clinics (Greg Kantarjian 602). This is aimed at solving the problem of queues and receiving care promptly.


Thus, developed states provide additional funding to cover the cost of health care. Moreover, there are research studies assessing the level of abundance of specific population categories. This enables the identification of groups of people in need of additional support. The Covid 19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of expanding health insurance benefits. Therefore, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom have made arrangements to provide health care to citizens and migrants in their territories. These actions require additional expenditures from the budget, but in the long run are aimed at protecting all vulnerable categories of the community.

Works Cited

Formenti, Armocida, et al. “COVID-19: Universal Health Coverage Now More Than Ever.” Journal of Global Health, vol.10, no.1, 2020, pp. 1-4.

Chaudhary, Sharma, et al. “Universal Insurance and An Equal Access Healthcare System Eliminate Disparities for Black Patients After Traumatic Injury.” Surgery, vol.163, no. 4, 2018, pp. 163.

Ebi, Hiromichi, and Hideaki Bando. “Precision Oncology and The Universal Health Coverage System in Japan.” JCO Precision Oncology, vol. 3, 2019, pp. 1-12.

Jones, Greg, and Hagop Kantarjian. “The Many Roads to Universal Health Care in The USA.” The Lancet Oncology, vol. 20, no.10, 2019, pp. e601-e605.

Kipo-Sunyehzi, Ayanore, et al. “Ghana’s Journey Towards Universal Health Coverage: The Role of The National Health Insurance Scheme.” European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education, vol.10, no.1, 2019, pp. 94-109.

Martin, Danielle, et al. “Canada’s Universal Healthcare System: Achieving Its Potential.” The Lancet, vol. 391, no. 10131, 2018, pp. 1718-1735.

Weaver, Nandakumar, et al. “Variation in Health Care Access and Quality Among U.S. States and High-Income Countries with Universal Health Insurance Coverage.” JAMA Network Open, vol. 4, no. 6, 2021, pp. 2114730-e214730.

Wu, Runguo, Niying Li, and Angelo Ercia. “The Effects of Private Health Insurance on Universal Health Coverage Objectives in China: A Systematic Literature Reviews International.” Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol.17, no.30, 2020, pp. 2049.

American Versus Australian Healthcare System
The Health System Performance Improvement