It is virtually impossible to find an objective analysis of what is called “universal healthcare.” The articles are either pro or con. This article is intended to be factual (i.e. For information only). Universal healthcare is not necessarily “socialized medicine.” There are different types of universal healthcare.
At this time, according to the website, “The Balance,” 32 of the 33 developed countries have some form of Universal Health care. There are three models: the first is the “single-payer” system where a tax is imposed on citizens to pay healthcare. This has been adopted by twelve countries, one of which is the United Kingdom.
The second model is where the required insurance is purchased either through an employer or from the government. Six countries have this insurance mandate, one of which is Germany.
The third model is a two-tier approach where the government taxes its citizens to pay for basic government health services with the right to the citizens to exercise an option to purchase supplemental health insurance. Nine countries use this model, one of which is France.
Even within the three models, there are differences. For example, the United Kingdom’s single payer approach is for the government to own the services, and for the service providers to be government employees. Canada also has a single payer system, but it pays for services provided by a private delivery system. Private supplemental insurance is available. Free medical care (up to 70%) is provided for all “residents” regardless of citizenship. Hospitals, however, are publicly owned. The annual cost to the government is 10.6% of its gross domestic product. In comparison, it now accounts 17.9% Of the gross domestic product of the united states, not all of which is paid by the government.
At the present time, the United States has combination of private and government-run health insurance. Private health care is subsidized by virtue of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act. One-third of the cost is for administration — not for health care. Sixty percent of American citizens get healthcare insurance through their employers. Fifteen percent receive Medicare (over 65). Medicaid provides coverage for lower income persons and CHIP provides coverage for children of lower income persons. The government provides funds for veterans, Congress, and federal employees. For one reason or another, 28 million Americans do not have healthcare coverage (the population of the United States is approximately 325 million).
Banker Phares is a practicing attorney and founding member of the Estate Planning and Probate Law certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the John and Karen Mast Professor at SFA and teaches in the Department of Economics and Finance.