I found the film “Sick all over the World” to be extremely interesting. It not only taught me about other nations health care systems, but also more about our own system. TR Reid did an excellent job analyzing each system and interviewing medical professionals and experts to compare the US to countries around the world. It was quite surprising to me that most people pay little to nothing for health care, and that it is offered to every citizen, regardless of health conditions, employment, or social status.
Even though in the UK citizens pay absolutely nothing for health care during their life span, which starkly contrasts the US, I found Japan and Taiwan to be most different from us. First of all, every person is required to pay for an insurance program. It is based on income, and those who are unemployed pay into a social health care system. Almost everything is covered, and medical costs for procedure are extremely low. Essentially, the rich pay for the poor and the healthy pay for the sick. It is a very socialist system, very different from our strong market health care system. The cost is extremely low, however, at around 6% of the GDP, significantly lower than the US 17%.
Another huge difference is that there is only one insurance company and it does not make a profit. Costs are kept low, and if premiums are not met for the year, they carry over to the next. One of the main reasons these costs can be so low, is that the government and the insurance companies regulate the cost of every single procedure and drug on the market so that a doctor or hospital cannot increase their prices to gain more revenue. This creates another large difference from the US in that doctors do not have a huge income. They do not have the high social status that they do in America. Also, most citizens are very happy with the system, it is cheap, and effective with no wait times, and no gate keepers to see specialists. Patients are more informed and more in charge of their own health, and they like it that way.