In 2014, Indonesia, a sprawling archipelagic nation of 250 million people, began phasing in one of the world’s largest single-payer health-care systems. Two and a half years later, its government guarantees comprehensive health insurance for 165 million citizens and residents, with plans to expand coverage to the entire population by 2019.
A country of a quarter-billion people is trying to provide health care for all – The Washington PostMay 19, 2016
Compared to similar countries, the United States has higher rates of mortality for most of the leading causes of death, and generally performs worse on a variety of quality indicators. Cancer, however, is one area where the U.S. stands out with better outcomes across a range of measures. The U.S. has lower-than-average mortality rates and disease burden caused by cancer, and also has somewhat higher-than-average survival rates for certain cancers.
The Dutch healthcare system has received international praise. This year the Netherlands are again topping the chart of the Euro Health Consumer Index. What makes the system so good? To get some answers, I caught up with old friends from the Netherlands.
The country’s philosophy is to cut costs and stimulate quality by introducing regulated competition. The Dutch have attempted to create a system that ensures universal health care, offers transparency and choice for consumers, and avoids risk selection. GPs play a key role coordinating care and preventing unnecessary use of hospitals.
Dr Pieter van den Hombergh, GP trainer and a former senior policy adviser at the Dutch Association of General Practitioners (LHV), is full of praise:
“In 2006, the country switched to a regulated market-oriented healthcare system: Insurers got purchasing power and the Government withdrew from healthcare, but set strict regulations for insurers and providers.”
Dr Jettie Bont is a GP and former board member of the Dutch Association of General Practitioners. “The Dutch health system is accessible to anyone, rich or poor, old or young,” she says. “Patients don’t have to pay a co-payment or excess payment to see their GP and we’re making sure it stays this way.”
Conservative Think Tank: 10 Countries With Universal Health Care Have Freer Economies Than The U.S. – ForbesJanuary 27, 2015
Many American conservatives oppose universal health insurance because they see it as fundamentally antithetical to a free society. “If we persevere in our quixotic quest for a fetishized medical equality we will sacrifice personal freedom as its price,” wrote a guest editorialist in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. But according to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations freer than the United States have achieved universal health coverage. It turns out that the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.
Loyal readers know that I have been critical of the claim that the health care systems of other countries are superior to our own. But this is one area where some other countries outperform us in spades. As I wrote at the Health Affairs blog:
- In Germany and Austria, a cash payment is made to people eligible for long-term care — with few strings attached and little oversight on how the money is used.
- In England and the Netherlands, the disabled and the elderly manage their own budgets, choosing the services and providers that meet their needs.
via The Right To Die.
In a decision with meaningful implications for the future of U.S. health reform, Swiss voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to replace their fully privatized health care system with a government-run, single-payer one. Why does this matter for Americans? Because efforts by both Democrats and Republicans to reform U.S. health care have been modeled after the Swiss system. Switzerland offers us a glimpse as to what a popular, market-oriented health-care system could look like.
Many Americans assume that all European countries have single-payer health care systems. That’s not true. They all offer universal coverage—in which health insurance is subsidized for all citizens–but only some of those countries, like the United Kingdom, actually have a system in which private insurers play no meaningful role, because the government serves as the sole insurance company i.e., the single payer.
Despite healthy per capita spending, however, Southeast Asian countries on average spend less on healthcare as a percentage of GDP than any other region in the world. While North America and the European Union spent 17.2% and 10.2% of their GDP on healthcare respectively in 2012, Southeast Asia only spent 3.9% that same year. This is less than poorer regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.