Healthcare Differences in Australia and the USA

It can be stated that what mainly differentiates the health care system in America from that in Australia is the fact that the latter country is one of the 32 OECD states that have Universal Health Coverage. This means that Australia, like the rest of the OECD member countries with UHC, has a system that ensures accessible high-quality health services for all citizens, protecting them against financial risks, associated with receiving medical care (Holder et al., 2017). America, in turn, does not have united health care legislation and provides medical services to its citizens through private health insurance, with public coverage only available to certain groups. Medicare and Medicaid programs provide services to low-income groups and the elderly. The rest of Americans, who constitute the majority of citizens, have to deal with almost all of their health care costs on their own.

The ways these two countries finance their health care systems also differ. Australian government pays “67.9% of total health expenditure,” while private health insurance contributes about 7.1%, and “out of pocket payment consist 20.3% of total health expenditure” (Alokozay et al., 2020, p. 1815). In the US, the system is financed through a combination of government programs, private insurance, usually provided by employers, and an individual’s own funds. The Healthcare system in America consumes 18% of its GDP; however, despite having the highest health care costs in comparison to its peer countries, many Americans still do not have health insurance (Holder et al., 2017, para. 5). To Australians, in turn, it costs about 9% of GDP (Alokozay et al., 2020, p. 1816). This is only one of many alarming facts about the American healthcare system.

Political decisions can impact the role of healthcare managers and their organizations in a number of ways. For instance, if the government makes a decision to reorient financing and resources towards a new system, health care managers will have to introduce changes to the structure and planning of their facility’s budget. They would also have to oversee that these changes are implemented in the hospital’s daily operations. Thus, health care managers and their organizations are influenced by every decision the government makes concerning health care policy.

Although American healthcare is currently the most expensive in the world, the country still has a wide range of problems. Low life expectancy and a large number of deaths from preventable diseases are some of the most disturbing outcomes of the current system. It can only be improved through a wholesome and rational approach that should consist of several steps. First, the government should strengthen public health systems at the federal and local levels. Second, “health care financing and delivery systems” should be reoriented to “reward providers for the prevention, improve efficiency, and further reduce barriers patients face to receiving care and preventing illness” (Frieden et al., 2021, p. 624). Finally, the government should empower and encourage people to make healthier choices in their day-to-day lives.

The facts mentioned above about the current healthcare system in the US allow the conclusion that the country needs a universal system that would guarantee that every citizen is entitled to receiving basic care. Medical services should not only be available to those who can afford them or have private insurance, sponsored by their employer. America should follow the example of other OECD member states and adopt universal health care legislation.

References

Alokozay, A. M., Ghafari, S. S., Erfani, B., & Shayan, S. J. (2020). Health care systems and their transformation: Comparing the health care system of three selected countries. Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development, 11(3), 1813-1817.

Frieden, T. R., Rajkumar, R., & Mostashari, F. (2021). We must fix US health and public health policy. American Journal of Public Health, 111(4), 623-627. Web.

Holder, J., Torpey, P., & Cage, F. (2017). How does the US healthcare system compare with other countries? The Guardian. Web.

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