Access to healthcare is listed as a fundamental human right in the constitution of the World Health Organization. Universal healthcare aims to deliver quality healthcare to everyone in a cost-effective way.
The universal healthcare system aims to improve the overall quality of life sustainably. This system ensures that healthcare is accessible by everyone, as healthcare is not a luxury but a necessity.
Universal healthcare not only provides financial aid by reducing the cost of healthcare, but also aims to spread general awareness regarding health among the masses, helps to make better the healthcare infrastructure in a particular country, provide sanitation, ensures clean drinking water supply, and saves the future generation from the negative impact of poverty incurred due to expensive healthcare services provided by the public sector.
The universal healthcare system is part of the sustainable development project, where the aim is to meet the needs of the present condition and at the same time taking measures to ensure that future generations do not lose their self-sufficiency due to the adverse effect of cumulative poverty.
In this article, we will look at 10 countries with universal healthcare.
Pros of Universal Health Care
- Universal health care is a cost-effective system. The aim of this system is to lower the cost of healthcare so that the patients have access to quality healthcare services at an affordable price. The entire medical market is regulated by the government. It is the duty of the state to participate in the process of price discrimination in order to set a standardized price for medicines all over the state. This system prohibits the free market economy where multiple private companies compete for monopoly, where there is no price regulation, and the cost of service generally rises. This is why in the private health care system people generally do not have access to basic healthcare.
- The universal healthcare system significantly lowers administration costs. In a privatized system of healthcare, there are multiple administrative groups as the healthcare service is divided into several sections such as maintenance fees, a separate fee for the doctors, separate fees for management. In a universal health care system, these sections are combined in a single administrative sector, which is regulated and supervised by the government. So the patient has to pay the minimal charges for administration.
- In a universal healthcare system, the process of getting treatment is much more simplified. In a privatized health care system several external authorities are involved. For example, the insurance company might have to provide the approval to the expenditures for treatment prescribed by the doctors. This process of approval may take some time. And in case of complication with the claims, the process gets further delayed. This makes urgent medical action difficult and cumbersome. The universal healthcare system aims to remove such unnecessary complications. With the healthcare system being run by a single government authority, healthcare becomes simple and smooth.
- As mentioned above, the universal healthcare system prohibits a competition-based market system. In the free market system, individual firms set higher prices which can only be afforded by people from the high-income group. The aim of the universal healthcare system is to make healthcare universally accessible so that the general standard of society improves as everyone has access to affordable healthcare irrespective of their class position.
- The universal healthcare system aims to create a healthcare workforce that is effective and competent. Allocation of the workforce in different sectors ensures that patients going to the outpatient department also receives quality treatment that is usually provided by the emergency service only, as the emergency is legally obliged to provide quality treatment even if the patient is unable to pay. This system ensures that the emergency system is relieved of the constant traffic.
List of Countries With Universal Healthcare
These are a few of the countries with universal healthcare.
1. United Kingdom
Every country in the United Kingdom has access to universal healthcare. The National Health Service provides public health care to the permanent residents of the United Kingdom. They have a system of socialized healthcare, where all the hospitals are publicly owned and the entire workforce is employed by the government.
Sweden has access to universal healthcare. This system is funded through a process of taxation that the county council levies. Besides, people who are aged below 23 have access to dental care that is funded by the government. Although after the COVID-19 pandemic the healthcare system has faced a lot of criticism for discriminating between Swedish citizens and citizens of other ethnicities, as the mortality rate among Swedish citizens of other ethnicities is comparatively higher.
Spain has a universal health care system under which the public healthcare provides service to all the citizens, and in some cases to non-citizens as well. The healthcare system is funded by the Social Security Budget. Spain ranks among the countries with top healthcare services along with Japan, Singapore, and Hong-Kong.
The National Health Insurance scheme in France funds the universal healthcare system in France. It is considered among the countries with the best healthcare infrastructure.
It is legally mandatory for all the citizen of Japan to have health insurance. Patients have the freedom to choose the healthcare they wish to avail themselves, as under no circumstances are they denied coverage. According to the legal mandate, hospitals can be run only as non-profit.
Universal healthcare in Singapore is ensured by the government through price controls and mandatory savings. The private sector efficiently provides most of the services. 3% of the annual GDP is spent on healthcare. Singapore has the second-lowest infant mortality rate.
The healthcare system of Hong-Kong includes top of the line health services, compulsory health education, and highly developed medication and healthcare facility. It has the second-highest life expectancy. All the public hospital is managed by the Hospital Authority, a statutory body. It has advanced research and development in the field of medical technology and is the first country in the world to perform a successful liver transplant.
The Medibank/Medicare originally introduced in 1975 is the system of universal healthcare in Australia. It covers about 75%-85% of healthcare and schedule costs.
Switzerland has universal health care. The healthcare system is regulated by the Federal Health Insurance Act, 1994. It is mandatory for people residing in Switzerland to purchase health insurance. The insurers are bound by law to provide coverage for everyone irrespective of any medical condition or age and are prohibited from earning profits from the basic insurance.
Norway has a universal healthcare system that is funded through taxation. The healthcare system is centralized and funded by taxes that are levied by the municipalities and the county councils. Norway is ranked among the topmost countries for its health care service.
These are some of the countries with universal healthcare. Most of the countries listed above rank among the topmost countries that provide premium health care.