As the U.S. Supreme Court holds an unprecedented three days of hearings on whether the 2010 health care law is constitutional, we take a look at how other countries handle health care.
A 2010 analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes health care in the United States, found that the U.S. spent more per capita on health care than any other industrialized country. The research used data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Here are highlights of other countries’ health care from the analysis and a 2009 comparison by PBS Newshour:
Canada: Under the Canada Health Act, Canadians receive health coverage through Medicare, and may opt to purchase private insurance for services not covered under the public plan (dental care and prescription drugs, for example). Taxes fund the system. Most hospitals are not-for-profits owned by religious orders, universities and governments. Australia’s system is similar.
Japan: Under Japan’s social insurance program, all citizens must have health insurance. Not-for-profit insurers work through employers and the national health care program, and offer the same services and medications at the same prices controlled by the health ministry. Patients can choose their health care providers. Individuals pay 20-30 percent of costs up to a certain level, and then receive full coverage.
“Not only does it have universal coverage but it has excellent health status … and at a very low cost,” Francesca Colombo, a senior health policy analyst at OECD, told Newshour.