Healthcare Systems - Are They Comprehensive and Effective?

Providing quality and effective health care is everyone's concern. This is true anywhere in the world, even in the United States. The government is constantly trying to initiate changes in the system that will ensure that health care is still provided comprehensively even with the onset of recession. The general public, on the other hand, is faced with worries about getting decent health care for themselves and their families. Employers are concerned with providing proper health care benefits to the employees and their dependents, while the medical practitioners are constantly looking for ways on how to be able to provide the best health care possible for their patients.

When someone is admitted to a hospital or a medical institution, this can cause worry for his family. They will definitely worry about his medical condition. The financial situation also comes into play. The little but important details about settling the bills, especially if you are using insurance can also cause stress and confusion. Although the coverage of the insurance is usually explained when it is availed, there is a lot more to learn and understand when it comes down to choosing the correct hospital or doctor and to ensure that hospital expenses are kept to a minimum.

The United States boasts of having one of the most advanced and comprehensive healthcare systems in the world. American citizens, in general, should be thankful for having sufficient healthcare plans, either through their personal funds or through their employers. This is applicable especially for those who are able to avail of private healthcare plans. However, we cannot say that this is true for everyone, especially those who are not eligible for government insurance. This may be due to one of the following reasons: the disease is not covered by the plan, or the family earns more than enough to qualify for government insurance, but earns less than how much is required for them to afford private insurance.

What Are the Best Health Care Systems in the World?

Health care reform is on everyone's mind these days. New proposals  are coming from the Senate and from the House. President Obama has made  reform a priority.

Universality of access to health insurance is the most pressing issue. Universal health care simply means coverage for all eligible residents of a political area. The United States is the only industrialized country that has not implemented a universal system for citizens under age 65.

Universal health care can be implemented in several ways. In some countries the government directly manages the health care system. This is usually called socialized medicine. In most countries universal coverage is achieved by a mix of public and private funding. Taxation is the primary source of funding but is supplemented by private payor arrangements.

In 2000 the World Health Organization (WHO) produced a report which ranked all the health insurance systems used by its member countries. The is the report usually quoted when discussing both the good and bad features of a health insurance system.

Problems with Our Health Care System

Given the enormous amount of money that is spent on our health care system and the research that has gone into the various diseases we would be excused if we think that there should be able to trust our health care system to deliver quality health care. Sadly, our Western health care system falls well short of what is desired. Instead of healing and health it largely delivers suffering and further disease. Mendelssohn as far back as 1979 (and he wasn't the first to suggest it) considers that the public has been 'conned' about the benefits delivered by 'scientific medicine'. There is a great deal of myth that surrounds our current system.

A part of the myth is that medical practice has produced an overall increase in health in the past one hundred years. However, historical analysis has found that general improvements in social and environmental conditions provide a more adequate explanation of the changes than the rise of 'scientific medicine'. Factors such as the improvement in diet and nutrition, sanitation and improved general living conditions have made the greatest difference.

Hospitals are deadly. Mistakes/errors, accidents, infections, medical drug disasters, diagnostic equipment including; X-rays, ultrasounds and mammograms make hospitals very dangerous. Hard technology has taken over the central role in modern medicine as it is considered effective and efficient. This has however been questioned. It is considered uneconomic and it also causes an unnecessary amount of pain and suffering. Accidents in hospitals now occur more frequently than in any other industry except mining and high rise construction. In addition to this are the medical doctor caused diseases. They are so common that they have their own name - iatrogenesis. Again the general public is unaware of how common this disease is. All told, iatrogenesis accounts for 784,000 deaths each year in the United States - more American deaths than all the wars of the 20th century combined. 98,000 deaths a year are caused by medical errors alone, and surgical errors account for another 32,000 deaths. These figures include only deaths. Officials admit that medical errors are reported in official data only 5 percent of the time, so the problem is much greater - exactly how much greater, no one really knows.