Compare and contrast the U.S. health care system with that of another country. What are some of the major advantages and disadvantages inherent of both systems?
The main kind of health care system that other countries have and which is very different from that of the United States is the single-payer system in which the government provides health care services at no charge to the people. Of course, people pay taxes, but outside of that, they do not pay for their health care.
There are a number of benefits that proponents of such a system believe the US would gain if it moved towards a national health insurance program. Let us look at two of the most important. First, they say, it would be fairer because everyone would have access to health care regardless of their financial status. Second, they say that such a system would be less expensive because the one buyer could force health care providers to take lower payments than they can now demand from the various health insurance companies.
However, opponents of such systems argue that a free market system is vastly superior to the single-payer system. Their main criticism is that nationalized health care leads to rationing. The supply of medical care drops when prices drop and therefore there is not enough health care. They talk of people dying while waiting for a time when a doctor could perform surgery on them. They say that this sort of system allows the government to decide who gets what kind of health care and when they get it. They see this as an affront to a democratic and capitalistic system.