In England, it was revealed that the medication on average costs $10 per prescription for working adults while everyone else could obtain the same medication at no cost. Furthermore in England, pre-natal care is free, emergency room visits are free, and travel costs to get to the health care facility are reimbursed. In France, health care and day care are free of charge. Moore, (2007).
Compared to countries with universal health care, the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate, a shorter life span, and a more expensive system of healthcare. In the World Health Organization's the World Health Report 2000 -- Health Systems: Improving Performance (Geneva: WHO, 2000) as cited in the article, the U.S. Healthcare System: the Best in the World or Just the Most Expensive (2001). Still, the U.S. is one of the last countries to officially implement a national health care plan.
Tamaskar & Rising in their 2003 article, Theoretical Models for Delivering Universal Health Care: an Analysis of Important Concepts, addressed the methods by which countries with universal health care such as Canada, England, France, and Cuba implement their health care systems. Each method of implementation has its pluses and minuses, two of the systems -- single payer accounts and medical savings accounts will be examined in further detail.
By definition, a single payer account, as found in Canada, is one in which the costs of medical care are financed by one source -- usually the federal government. Citizens visit private physicians who are reimbursed by the federal government. American Medical Student Association. (2003). Theoretical Models for Delivering Universal Health Care: An Analysis of Important Concepts, (Unknown Ed.). Reston, VA: Tamaskar, Prashant and Rising, Josh. The benefits of this type of program are numerous: Each patient receives health care regardless of age, health, employment status, socioeconomic status, or inability to pay -- this system ensures that the healthcare will be equally provided for all. Tamaskar and Rising, 2003.
Like all programs, however, the single pay plan has its disadvantages. One disadvantage revolves around politics and the fact that many individuals are not convinced that the government should be in control of healthcare. Critics of this plan refer to the fact that a plan such as this, in which the government is involved, would result in increased taxation. Bureaucracy, lack of choice of participating physicians, and low quality of care are all concerns surrounding a single pay plan system. Tamaskar and Rising, 2003.
Another plan proposed by Tamaskar & Rising is the medical savings account approach -- a relatively new approach to universal health care. The premise behind this system is that health costs are inflated because people are over insured -- when a person has insurance they seek medical care for even the most minor conditions. A medical savings account will help curtail this phenomenon by requiring that person deposit money into a tax free savings account set aside for medical care. The advantages of the plan are that it will result in individual using medical benefits more wisely. Another advantage is that people are more likely to avoid injury or health risks because they are directly paying for medical care. Tamaskar and Rising, 2003.
The disadvantages of the medical savings account range from the person not being able to afford to deposit money into the account and that this system indirectly discourages preventative care by making patients pay for routine doctor visits. The connotation is that if a person is required to pay out of pocket for all medical visits even routine doctor visits, they are less likely to see the doctor until they have a serious problem which could ultimately result in increased medical expenses. Tamaskar and Rising, 2003.
Each system for implementing universal health care has its set of benefits and drawbacks. Still as with all programs, no system put in place for a purpose will be entirely beneficial or entirely detrimental. It is the duty of those implementing the system and those that are a part of the system to make sure that the system accomplishes the purpose for which it was instituted. With this in mind, by implementing of an effective universal system of health care, the U.S. can offset many…