What Is Universal Health Care? A Detail About Its Advantage And Disadvantage

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Written By Philethia Thomas

You suddenly got sick. So you went to the hospital to get treated. While there, you hear about universal health care and wonder how can it help you.

You don’t have to worry anymore because we are here to help you out.

So, what is universal health care?

UHC is a system where the government guarantees that every person has access to medical treatment. They afford this with the taxpayer’s money. With the help of UHC, no citizen is excluded from treatment regardless of their financial situation. So everyone has high-quality medical care due to UHC.

You still might be confused about how UHC works. Don’t worry, because this article is all about how UHC works and how it helps us.

So let us dig right in!

What Is Universal Health Care?

There are several variations of universal health care. However, the fundamental concept is the same everywhere. The government intervenes with taxpayers’ money. They guarantee that every person has access to the necessary medical treatment. 

With universal healthcare, no citizen is excluded from receiving care because of their financial situation. Governments incur significant costs to provide UHC due to the high cost of doing so. So taxpayer-funded initiatives must be used to pay for such universal health care coverage.

Everyone should have access to high-quality medical care, according to UHC. This enables them to safeguard everyone from hazards. This includes public health as well as from poverty brought on by diseases. 

Whether it comes from personal medical costs. Or they result from a household member being unwell and losing their income.

How Does Universal Health Care Work?

There are several ways to implement universal health care. Specifically, it depends on the system. There are several models for universal health care. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages. Many nations follow them across the world depending on the universal health care law.

The Bismark Model

In Germany, Otto von Bismarck established this system of universal healthcare. Between 1881 and 1889, it was implemented during a social law. As a result, in this system, employment is correlated with access to healthcare and health insurance.

Instead of using taxes to pay for the model, social contributions are used. It is dependent on health insurance that is paid for by social payments. It is mostly run by business leaders and labor unions.

The extent of the state’s involvement in health insurance money must be decided. In the event that a financial imbalance occurs, they then take the necessary action. In Austria, the German example served as a model. 

Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands were all affected. The Bismarck model has been adopted by other nations. In this paradigm, formerly unprotected demographic groups are now covered by protection.

The Semashko Model

The Soviet Union established this concept in the 1920s. After 1945, it expanded throughout the USSR’s satellite republics. It bears Nicolai Semashko’s name. From 1918 until 1930, he served as the USSR’s health minister.

Of course, a certain political philosophy produced this socialized medical system.

The state owned the right to provide healthcare. Also, healthcare workers were compensated by the government. Most of the time, services were free, but patients had to pay out-of-pocket for their medications.

Health care was made accessible to everyone through the system. Overall, it was advantageous to everyone in the system. Coverage levels were established by central authorities. Additionally, they set a limit on healthcare spending.

The Beveridge Model

In this system, money from income taxes is used by the government to fund free healthcare. Government personnel supply the services, which are owned by the government. Everyone has equal access to healthcare. The Beveridge Model refers to this.

In this system, health care is provided by the government. They endeavor to make sure hospitals and doctors receive high-quality treatment at an affordable price. 

Governmental organizations must gather and evaluate data to do this. Then make use of their purchasing power to sway medical professionals.

With their NHS, the UK contributed to the advancement of the Beveridge health care system. In the NHS, the government not only foots the bill for medical care. They also manage hospitals and hire physicians. Spain, New Zealand, and Cuba are examples of other nations with a Beveridge system.

The Out-of-pocket Model

Typically, the American healthcare system works like this. Their guiding premise is that personal responsibility and private insurance are key to maintaining good health. There isn’t a mandatory national system in place in reality. However, there are a lot more private groups.

Only the elderly and the underprivileged are given access to public healthcare in this country. In comparison to the Beveridge model, it is considerably different.

During the Democratic L.B. Johnson administration, this paradigm first appeared. The two primary initiatives are:

  • Medicare is a managed healthcare program supported by the federal government for everyone over 65.
  • Federal and state governments jointly support the Medicaid program. The majority of the resources go to low-income families. ​

The government agency is in charge of both Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid are under the direct management of CMS.

Each state oversees its own Medicaid program for its residents.

European Mixed-Model Plans

Plans with a mixed approach are intended to guarantee universal healthcare. For the most part, European nations continue to be influenced by the Bismarck and Beveridge models.

Nearly all European nations had access to universal health care. It was accessible virtually to all residents by the middle of the 20th century.

​The French system has made sure that everyone has access to healthcare since establishing the CMU. Access to healthcare is no longer determined by employment.

However, the sources of funding have not been questioned. The primary source of revenue for all nations that adopted the English model is taxes.

Social protection in nations that follow the Bismarck model is paid for via contributions.

The system’s organizational structure is related to these variations in funding:

  • Tax-based funding is comparable to a state-run enterprise.
  • In contrast, money that comes through social contributions typically involves employers’ groups and unions. ​

What Are The Advantages of Universal Health Care?

UHC is very important for any country. It increases the quality of life of the citizens in every possible aspect. So a lot of countries have implemented UHC in their systems. So let us talk about universal health care benefits.

Increased Longevity

There are several elements to life expectancy. Nonetheless, may always be linked to good health and convenient access to medical treatment. Overall, it appears that having universal coverage makes people healthier.  

The healthcare system is much better in Western European countries than in the US. So western Europeans live 3 to 5 years longer on average than Americans do thanks to UHC. This variation is quite important.

Increased Longevity
Increased Longevity image source

Lower Health Costs For All

UHC creates lower healthcare costs for all. Therefore, US healthcare spending is not comparable to that of other affluent nations. Healthcare in the US costs 70-80% more than it does in Canada and Western Europe.

For instance, 8% of all national health expenditures in the US are attributable to administrative costs. The other nations are between 1 and 3%. Again, expenditures are greatly increased in the privatized health care system.

Enhancing Pricing Transparency

Pricing under universal healthcare systems is more regulated and transparent. All medical procedures are categorized and priced uniformly across the nation. Additionally, patients might anticipate their costs.

Injuries or catastrophic illnesses may easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the US. It can even cost you your house. It might drain your retirement and savings accounts. 

Improving Health Care Equality

Socialized medicine is practiced in several nations. Health care, therefore, has less to do with social, economic, or educational position. The disparity in healthcare access for patients in the US is tied to inequality in income.

The idea of solidarity serves as the foundation for socialized healthcare systems. Everyone is included. Everyone has health insurance and access to medical care. Furthermore, it should be noted that no one declares bankruptcy due to medical expenses.

Creating Healthier Workforce

According to studies, preventative treatment lessens the need for costly emergency department visits. Without it, people would have had little choice except to visit the emergency department. 

Additionally, they had to see their primary care physician in the emergency room. The growing expense of medical treatment is mostly due to this health care inequality.

Prevent Future Health & Social Cost

In the most disadvantaged areas, preventive treatment can improve results and stop future health problems. It’s one of the biggest plus points of UHC.

What Are The Disadvantages of Universal Health Care?

Like advantages, there are also disadvantages to UHC. These disadvantages are seen in every system where UHC is present. We are going to talk about some of these cons.

Healthy People Pay For The Sick

The wealthy pay for the needy in the UHC system. Healthier folks foot the bill for others who require medical treatment. Without a doubt, governance is also a factor in the therapy.

It raises the question of what kind of society we want to live in. What exactly are a welfare state’s boundaries? The rights of persons to healthcare coverage are primarily defined by social protection legislation. So there are cases where this system is ineffective.

The Necessity For Careful Public Management

The expense of healthcare might ruin the finances of the national or local governments. When costs exceed the financing source, this occurs. This is evident when trends like population aging and unemployment occur. Additionally, factors like a gradual rise in chronic illnesses or unanticipated occurrences like a pandemic.

Making Medical Careers Less Rewarding

The financial appeal of a profession in medicine may decline. In the US, this is quite sensitive. Studies are quite expensive in the US. Medical practitioners sometimes have to repay their student debts years after graduating.

The situation is different in Europe, where attending a university is essentially free.

In 2016, general practitioners in the US earned, on average, $218,000. The typical generalist salary in similar nations is half as much as that. Sweden pays $86K, but Germany pays $154K in salary.

Long Wait Times

Getting a dental appointment might take weeks in France and the UK. When it comes to a dermatologist or ophthalmologist, it can take months. As a result, emergency rooms are frequently overcrowded and used inappropriately.

FAQs

Why Universal Health Care Is Important?

All individuals should have access to high-quality healthcare, according to UHC’s objectives. Also, to protect everyone from threats to the public’s health. They can be suffering financial hardship as a result of the disease. Also cases like out-of-pocket expenses for medical care they can’t afford. 

What Is The Main Value For UHC?

The WHO claims that providing universal healthcare shields nations against diseases. Additionally, it lowers the danger of hunger and poverty, produces jobs, and stimulates economic growth. Overall, it promotes gender equality.

Does UHC Benefit The Economy?

The most apparent advantages would be greater pay and salary along with more decent employment becoming available. Additionally, greater “matches” between employees and employers lowered stress during periods of job loss. Overall more chances to launch new enterprises.

Conclusion

Now you know what is universal health care. This system is very important to increase the quality of life for any country.

With advantages, there are also disadvantages to UHC. So it has to be implemented properly to make the best out of it. 

Hope we were able to enlighten you about this matter. Have a nice day!

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