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Scientific/Medical Question 22
Compare and contrast two different types of healthcare systems worldwide
The UK provides universal healthcare. It was launched by Aneurin Bevan in 1948, the Minister of Health at the time. Its core principles are: that it meet the needs of everyone, that it be free at the point of delivery, and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay. In July 2000, additional principles were added, including (but not limited to) that services are shaped around individual’s preferences, that it will support its staff, and that it will reduce health inequalities. The NHS is funded by the Department of Health. As there are no billing processes needed, massive efficiencies are made on administration. All UK residents are eligible. There is however significant improvement possible against key health outcome measures (like preventable deaths). Out of pocket expenses for healthcare are amongst the lowest in the world for UK citizens.
The US spends 15% of its GDP on healthcare - almost double that of the UK. This is due to individuals paying for private healthcare at high prices. The US has a mixed financing system, where employment-based health insurance is the norm.
The US has a largely comparable population heath to the UK, but fewer of its citizens think the system works well, and more believe that their system needs to be entirely rebuilt. Overall the WHO put the US 37/191 countries, compared to the UK in 18th (although these rankings are highly debated).