The World's Best Healthcare:
A Cut Above the Rest
By Mikkie Mills
According to a recent US News report, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada have the most well-developed healthcare systems in the world. These rankings are based on affordability and quality of medical care, among other factors. Here is an overview of what exactly makes these three healthcare systems so great.
Due to a piece of legislature passed in the 90's, those residing in Switzerland are required to purchase insurance from a selection of competing health insurance companies. This system works well because the providers must still compete to be the most desirable choice, presumably by the offering the best value in terms of coverage and affordability. This system allows for a population that is almost universally covered, but doesn't provide for undocumented immigrants.
The healthcare system in Switzerland is akin to the car insurance requirements in the United States. Everyone is required to have basic coverage, but additional coverage can be purchased at will. For instance, those who want a private room if hospitalized can pay a bit more so that their policy will cover it. The cost of healthcare for citizens averages about 10% of their income, but they pay far less than many other countries should any medical issues arise. For instance, insured patients are typically only required to pay around $15 per day for a stay in the hospital.
The United Kingdom
The UK has offered universal healthcare since the 1940's, as a response to the greatly increased healthcare needs in the aftermath of World War II. This system is a rather complex cooperation between Parliament, the Secretary of State and many governmental organizations, all organized toward the goal of providing healthcare to every citizen. In territories such as Northern Ireland, those national governments are given powers toward the implementation of their healthcare system, so long as it remains universal.
The goal of the healthcare system in the UK is to focus on patient outcome, with practitioners competing for the best care, instead of higher volumes of patients and procedures.
Just as with healthcare in Switzerland, citizens do have to pay. That being said, they pay less than half of United States citizens do annually, per capita. In 2015, the UK faced what was termed a crisis. Even at its worst, the healthcare system in the UK managed to provide care to almost all of its citizens. Visitors and immigrants are not covered under universal healthcare, but they can receive emergency and infectious disease care at little to no cost.
The Canadian healthcare system is well known for its universal coverage, affordability and quality care. Their system is different in that it is paid for through taxes. The system is truly affordable to all, because taxes are based off of income. In Canada, everyone receives equal healthcare opportunities, regardless of income.
The Canadian healthcare system also accounts for extra needs, such as specialists and ambulance rides. Many specialists are covered by the tax funded system with a referral from a general practitioner. There are also thousands of private physicians, which gives both patients and doctors the freedom to work within or outside of the national public healthcare system.
A government funded healthcare system may seem expensive, but the Canadian government actually spends a smaller percentage of its funds on healthcare than the United States does. Some individuals may pay more to help provide care for those who can't afford as much, which some view as an issue. Nonetheless, Canada has one of the highest quality of life ratings worldwide.
By focusing on quality of care and affordability for all, these three countries have found a way to provide excellent healthcare for all of their citizens.