Health Insurance in Canada and the United Kingdom
In Canada, the government pays for health insurance, although a large portion is provided by private health insurance. Most insurance is managed at the province level, though many Canadians have supplemental private insurance through their jobs. In Britain, the National Health Service covers most services for free and is financed by taxes. There is also a private system, but only about 10 percent of Britons have it. Overall, government spending on health care is 80 percent.
In the United States, health care costs 17.1 percent of GDP in 2017, according to the World Health Organization. By comparison, Germany and the United Kingdom spend a mere 9.6 percent of GDP on health care. The costs are increasing at a rapid rate, and we can’t afford to ignore them. As a result, we need to make sure we invest more in health care, rather than merely relying on government funds.
Although Germany has a universal health care system, not everyone is covered by the public system. Most people have to buy insurance through private companies, which makes it similar to the U.S. health care system. Private health insurance plans are community rated, guaranteed issue, and price differ according to network size and convenience. Premium subsidies are available for low-income citizens, while the cost-sharing for services for chronic illness is practically nonexistent. Alternatively, private health insurance plans may be for-profit or nonprofit, depending on the circumstances. Nevertheless, private health insurance premiums are higher, and patients may have to pay more if they have a medical condition that requires more frequent visits.
Although the United States health-care system is generally private, it is growing in its role as a significant part of the economy. While only 34 percent of the population receives health insurance through their employer, the top one percent spends twenty-two percent. By contrast, the bottom 50 percent of the population receives 73 percent of health care from the government and other sources. It is estimated that over 28 million people in the country have no health insurance.
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