Global Healthcare models of industrialized economies – A comparative analysis



Obamacare, a flagship project under President Obama had lifted the health insurance segment of the country to considerable heights. But after a stretch of successful run, it has witnessed a drop in the number of registrations due to increase in premium amounts. This federal statute was enacted in 2010 with an aim to overhaul the healthcare system of US, but with three major investors withdrawing from the scheme, questions arouse whether Obamacare subsidies are soon to end.

While it’s true that health care systems around the world don’t have epic tales to share, still some of the developed nations have made significant progress in this domain. Let’s take a look at the features of the national health insurance schemes of other industrialized economies.

  • Healthcare in United Kingdom

NHS is the government regulated healthcare system of UK, funded primarily through mandatory insurance contributions and tax. With exclusions on prescriptions, optical, and dental care services–all of which comes for a minimal charge–NHS continues to be free for all residents. The health care scheme covers more than 64 million people in UK, of which 54 million are from England alone. In the year 2014, The Commonwealth Fund announced NHS to be the most notable health care system based on a comparative study of some of the major national health care projects across the world. Of late, NHS has been receiving criticism from all corners of UK and most people complain about longer waiting time for consultation and limited choice of network hospitals. This is one of the reasons why around 11% of the UK residents opt for health insurance policies of private companies.

  • Healthcare in Germany

The system of health care in Germany has some striking features that could serve as a reference model for many of the developing nations. The country stipulates compulsory enrolment of students and working professionals in health care policies with exceptions to certain categories of people. Germany has a dual mode of health insurance that comes as Statutory Health Insurance (Sickness Funds) and Private Health Insurance. More than 85% of the German population is covered by national health insurance schemes and the remaining by private players. Citizens with an income of below €4237 are compulsorily covered under social health insurance and their dependents can opt for the schemes free of charge.

  • Healthcare in France

The national healthcare system in France was launched with an aim to provide universal coverage to all residents. It is financed by the obligatory medical contributions from the working class and taxation. French health care is recognized as one of the best health care systems in the world and it has a network of 23,000 medical practitioners. Citizens are free to choose their health care provider, but only the registered general practitioner is authorized to refer patients for enhanced medical treatments in a different hospital. With most of the general practitioners registering with national health care service, the availability of advanced medical treatments has increased to considerable levels. The French model of healthcare has been ranked as one of the best health systems by the WHO and Euro Health Consumer Index.

  • Healthcare in Canada

Canadian health system is known to offer a group of socialized health care plans that cover each and every citizen of Canada. The operational guidelines for the health schemes are set by the Federal government and it is administered by the provincial authorities. Under the Canadian system, patients are provided access to a wide range of treatments – from primary care and dental services to surgeries and transplants, the system covers almost every facet of healthcare. Canada also has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world which is primarily attributed to their health care system.

  • Healthcare in Australia

Australia’s public health system functions under the name Medicare, and it provides a universal access to medical treatments. Much like the German system, Medicare comes as a combination of both public and private health care services. These federal health insurance schemes provide citizens with affordable medical check-ups and higher treatments, irrespective of their social and economic statuses. Medicare was launched in 1984 and its services are funded through general taxation.

  • Healthcare in Brazil

Since 1988, the government of Brazil offers free health care services to all citizens and foreign nationals working in the country. From doctor consultation to hospitalization and surgery, everything comes for free in Brazil under the public healthcare system. The system covers about 20% of the country’s population with its broad network of registered practitioners, clinics, and hospitals. Even with a private health insurance, you can avail all the benefits under the public health system.

  • Healthcare in India

The public healthcare model of India comprises of various schemes launched by the government from time to time, with a view to cover the economically backward sections of the society. Some of the notable healthcare projects by the current and previous governments include Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), Employees’ State Insurance Scheme (ESIS), Central Government Health Scheme, Aam Aadmi Bima Yojna (AABY), Janashree Bima Yojna (JBY), Universal Health Insurance Scheme (UHIS), and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna (PMSBY).

Even though the country is known for medical tourism and modern infrastructure, disparities prevail in the quality of services offered on a regional basis. For example, people living in poor states like Bihar or Chhattisgarh may not have easy access to healthcare facilities when compared to people living in Maharashtra. Private health providers play a key role in India’s healthcare system, but this is an option which is affordable only for a considerably small percentage of the population. With the government increasing budgetary allocations to medical sector, the present condition of Indian healthcare system is expected to shape up in a very short period of time.

With comparative studies and implementation of globally recognized models, progressive changes can be brought in the healthcare sector of developing nations. In India, a lot pertaining to regulatory obligations have been eased up by the new government, which can be considered as a giant leap towards growth and development.