A health care system plays a central role in society as it determines the health status of the population in a nation. Since healthcare is an important issue for humanity, debates relating to it have been raging for centuries. As healthcare continues to be a major international issue, countries have been struggling to improve it by undertaking a series of reforms (Runciman et al., 2006). Healthcare Acts, policies, and regulations have emerged, existed, some gone extinct, while several others are still mushrooming, with little or even no effect on the improvement of the United States health care system (Ibrahim, 2007). To ascertain the nature of the health care systems, comparative studies have revealed that countries such as France, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, and Denmark have better health care systems than the United States. Therefore, this essay compares the health care systems of the United States and Australia by examining the advantages and disadvantages of each one of them.
The United States HealthCare System
A series of studies have endlessly targeted the United States healthcare system following its international conception and brand as an exceptional, unique, and even the best health care system across the world, where health experts converge seeking for the finest employment opportunities. Notwithstanding its eminence across the globe, people have failed to notice that the health care system of the United States needs refurbishment and reforms as it has quite a lot to learn from others. Koch, Miksch, Schumann, Joos, and Sawicki (2011) assert that the health care system in the United States has been in the limelight since the quality of the healthcare services that it provides elicits a controversy. According to Ibrahim (2007), “the discussions reflect, in part, growing public unease about the current healthcare system, fueled by rising health care costs, concerns about the health care and quality health care insurance” (p. 2124). Nonetheless, the United States health care system enjoys sustainable funding, best health care institutions, and well-maintained health learning institutions compared to other nations.
Advantages of the United States Health Care System
Whilst concerns are rising about the quality of the United States healthcare, the infrastructure and financial resources committed to the development of the system are exceptional (Koch et al., 2011). The publicly financed health care system puts the American health care department forward in the most advanced era, with this being an indication of critical reforms necessary to improve health care systems across the world. Although they experience a lot of criticism and frequent condemnation, the Medicaid and Medicare are among the most fundamental programs that support the healthcare system as the state sponsors them to provide free medical support to the vulnerable groups, the marginalized, the poor, and the elderly. Although the health care system is not successful as anticipated by the federal and the national governments, the United States Medicaid program plays a central role in supporting the vulnerable groups (Runciman et al., 2006). Increasing medical costs creates a situation that is unfavorable to everyone in the United States, and thus Medicaid has somewhat incorporated some equity in the accessibility of healthcare.
Disadvantages of the United States Health Care System
Notwithstanding the immense support accorded to the United States health care system through the federal and national government funding, substantial research indicates that this system seems like a failed one. According to Runciman et al. (2006), there is no health system in the United States, but an array of public and private programs and institutions that regulate, provide sponsorship, and deliver care. The current health care expenditure is the greatest worry to almost every American citizen, as the taxpayers suffer the repercussions of the Medicaid program (Ibrahim, 2007). While the Medicaid program consumes billions of the national budgets, Americans continue to spend a lot of money from their pockets and through heavily taxed private insurance companies. The national healthcare institutions seem dormant and overpowered by the private healthcare institutions as they are active in providing healthcare services (Hussey et al., 2004). The private healthcare institutions and providers offer quality healthcare, enhanced attention to patients, and cheap insurance packages.
The federal and the state governments fund the Medicaid and the Medicare programs using finances generated through the payroll taxes, federal general revenues, and the premiums, which place a huge financial burden on citizens (Wenger, 2009). With the private healthcare institutions and private insurance companies being more powerful and dominant than public healthcare institutions across the United States, health care seems like a commercial business rather than a national concern. Despite the fact that the private insurance is optional to those willing, civilians who crave for superior healthcare services are forced to subscribe to private insurance packages, which are payable through salaries (Scott, Denaro, & Bennett, 2004). Since no one in America wishes to joke with issues of health, as they are fundamental to the quality of life, the majority of the top and middle class Americans prefer private insurance (Hussey et al., 2004). Most Americans have left the unstable Medicare and Medicaid programs to the poor, the elderly, and the marginalized, and thus making affordability and accessibility of quality healthcare services to be dependent on social class.
The Australian Health Care System
Within the industrialized countries, Australia is slowly becoming more stable than several other states, with the health care system proving much better than that of the United States. Although somewhat akin to the United States health care system in terms of some policies and organizational setup, the Australian healthcare system has unique attributes that influence the outcomes and conceptions of healthcare quality. Even though it survives through privatization of some health care services, the Australian health care system achieves advanced medical outcomes owing to the government support and provides civilians with universal health coverage through the Medicare program. To achieve high quality care, the government imposed a tax-sponsored public insurance program that is responsible for covering most of the medical care provided to the entire public. Without any social class bias, the Australian federal government finances and regulates most of the healthcare services, while the private insurance companies just provide additional coverage.
Advantages of the Australian healthcare system
Unlike in the United States, Australia has a strong health care system funded through a government agency with the funds from public taxes supporting the healthcare program, while the private sector including malicious insurance companies are dormant players in this sector. This makes the public health care system more powerful than the private sector, as the Australians only receive additional coverage from such private insurance companies, which subsequently lowers the healthcare expenses (Scott, Denaro, & Bennett, 2004). In addition to the stable universal public Medicare program, the Australian government supports the improvement healthcare quality by subsidizing private insurance companies. Therefore, it implies that in contrast to the American health care system, the Australian federal and state governments have a great autonomy in the matters of healthcare (Philippon & Braithwaite, 2008). In terms of policies, the Australian healthcare policies support the increase in financial aid from the federal government and shore up a new management structure in public hospitals, and thus enable the universal healthcare coverage to triumph.
Disadvantages of the system
Apparently, the Australian health care system seems far much better than that of the United States, but the future implications may be on the rise as the government continues to provide extensive support for the universal health care program (Philippon & Braithwaite, 2008). The private health care system in Australia continues to grow at the expense of government spending. By supporting doctors to work in private hospitals and alienate the public hospitals by paying them to extra work in the public hospitals weakens the health care system. Many experts feel more attracted to work in the private hospitals than in public hospitals simply because the government is encouraging such practices, and this puts the future of the public health care system at stake (Philippon & Braithwaite, 2008). Statistics reveal that the Australian population is increasing rapidly with majority of civilians already living in poverty. As private hospitals continue to attract healthcare experts than the public system, the growing poor population may lack adequate care.
Comparatively, the Australian healthcare system seems much better than that of the United States. The federal and state governments of the United States have failed to balance the autonomy of the public and private health care systems; hence, giving more power to the private healthcare sector than the public healthcare sector. Equity in accessing medical care remains hampered as medication seems like a commercialized aspect in the United States. The cost-sharing program and the universal Medicare program, which are governed well by the Australian federal and state governments, make the quality of healthcare in Australia more advanced than that of the United States.
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