Health insurance US vs Other Countries Unit


Healthinsurance: US vs Other Countries


Recenthealth reform legislations in US have brought to attention the healthinsurance situation in the country. There Affordable Care Actnicknamed ObamaCare which as signed into law in 2010 sought toregulate the healthcare system among them making health insurancemore affordable and improving quality of care. Interestingly, evenafter the reforms the US healthcare system is ranked last amongindustrialized countries.

TheUS government spends 17.6% of the GDP on health translating to $8,233compared to an OECD average of $3,268. However, Americans havenegative perception socialized healthcare and consumerism call forpremium healthcare services always that inflate costs (Lieberman,2012). France and Japan have contained these costs at $3,974 and$3,035 respectively without compromising care. Thus is achieved byensuring that healthcare facilities are paid similar rates for mostpatients. In the US, the rates paid to hospitals for differentpatients vary with the insurance they have. Consequently,institutions tend to compete for clients with better insurancepolicies and ignore those with lesser paying policies such asMedicaid (Kane 2012).

Inthe US, Healthcare cost is not flexible as is the case in Japan andFrance. In these two countries, governments enforce cost containmentmeasures such as lowering the cost of certain services whoseconsumption is growing faster than other areas. Another measureemployed is encouraging the use of generic drugs to keep costs low.In contrast, payment rates are less flexible in the US with Congressapproval being required for any such changes in the rates. Thistherefore leads to higher insurance premiums for the taxpayer and tothe government. Another option used to control insurance costs thatthe US can learn from is in Switzerland. The government rankshospital services from the most expensive to the least expensive.Private insurers thus use this ranking to negotiate prices to payacross the board (Kane 2012).

Thelargest problems with the health insurance service in the US are thehigh cost of care, differentiated costing that encouragesdiscrimination of low income earners, and poorly flexible costing.With poor health insurance, the overall quality of healthcare drops.It is for this reason that the US records the highest cost ofhealthcare but the lowest quality among OECD countries.


Kane,J. (2012). Health costs: how the U.S. compares with other countries.Retrieved online on

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Lieberman,L. (2012). Healthcarein Great Britain vs. healthcare in the USA: part one. Retrieved

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