Overview of 5 Nations Health Care Systems

PBS presents a very nice overview of the heath care systems in Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland in: Sick Around the World. It is a just a surface view of the overall system but even so does a good job of providing more understanding of the options available to fix the failed system in the USA. The US system costs over 50% more than others and has worse outcome measures than the alternatives (and leaves many without any coverage). And while the alternatives are not perfect the defenders of the status quo make claims about the alternatives are not accurate.

Table combines data from my previous post, International Health Care System Performance, and the PBS website:

Australia Canada Germany Japan Netherlands New Zealand Switzerland Taiwan UK USA
National health spending – Percent of GDP 9.5% 9.8% 10.7% 8.0% 9.2% 9.0% 11.6% 6.3% 8.3% 16.0%
Percent uninsured 0 0 <1 <2 0 0 16

Switzerland, spending 11.6% of GDP on health care, is the 2nd most expensive in the world.

Related: USA Spent $2.1 Trillion on Health Care in 2006Measuring the Health of Nations (USA ranks 19th of 19 nations studied)Drug Prices in the USAUSA Health Care Costs 16% of GDP (2006)Deadly Diseases of Western Management5 Million Lives Campaign

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7 Responses to Overview of 5 Nations Health Care Systems

  1. Hi John,

    Good post that highlights an excellent PBS show. I just happened to watch it this week with great interest. I thought it did a great job comparing the differnt health systems. I especially liked the benchmarking and dealing with change where several interested parties do not want change.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “And while the alternatives are not perfect the defenders of the status quo make claims about the alternatives are not accurate.”

    What’s worse than that is that they turn their attention towards attacking the 16% / 47 million uninsured by stating that a majority of those uninsured stay that way for no more than 6 months. And while all of this fighting is going on over this topic, we’re seeing the number of underinsured rise to 25 million!

    States like Massachusetts have tried to better this situation, but even they aren’t managing to do everything they can due to the high cost of medical treatment in that state. At least they’re trying to utilize their health spending in a more useful way.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great post very informative. I wish United States would look at other Countries health care systems especially Canada and implement some of their policies to bring price down.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Good to see NZ doing pretty well on that list. We still pay a reasonale amount to go to the doctor though. Enough to scare me off. The cost of a dentist is very prohibitive too,.

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