Nations providing universal coverage offer one of three forms for their people:
1. government provided single-payer;
2. two-tier providing basic care, along with secondary coverage offering more services based on the ability to pay; and
3. mandate insurance from an employer or individually purchased, supplementing national coverage.
Countries offering universal coverage by date established and type system are the following:
Norway, 1912, single payer
New Zealand, 1938, two tier
Japan, 1938, single payer
Germany, 1941, insurance mandate
Belgium,1945, insurance mandate
Britain, 1948, single payer
Kuwait, 1950, single payer
Sweden, 1955, single payer
Bahrain, 1957, single payer
Brunei,1958, single payer
Cuba, 1959, single payer (constitutionally mandated)
Canada, 1966, single payer
The Netherlands, 1966, two-tier
Austria, 1967, insurance mandate
United Arab Emirates, 1971, single payer
Finland, 1972, single payer
Slovenia, 1972, single payer
Denmark, 1973, two-tier
Luxembourg, 1973, insurance mandate
France, 1974, two-tier
Australia, 1975, two tier
Ireland, 1977, two-tier
Italy, 1978, single payer
Portugal, 1979, single payer
Cyprus, 1980, single payer
Greece, 1983, insurance mandate
Spain, 1986, single payer
South Korea, 1988, insurance mandate
Iceland, 1990, single payer
Hong Kong, 1993, two-tier
Taiwan, single payer
Nicaragua, single payer
Singapore, 1993, two-tier
Switzerland, 1994, insurance mandate
Israel, 1995, two-tier
Venezuela, 1999, single payer (constitutionally mandated)
Other Latin American countries with some form of government provided healthcare include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru.
Other countries with some type of universal coverage include Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Latvia, single payer in Libya under Gaddafi, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uruguay.
The world’s richest country, America, lacks universal healthcare, millions of its citizens without coverage, most others way underinsured.
Under Trumpcare if enacted in either House or Senate form, conditions for most Americans will go from bad to worse.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an explosion of “junk insurance” will occur in states opting out of Obamacare protections – leaving millions with worthless coverage in cases of serious illnesses, diseases or injuries, especially when involving surgery and/or expensive drugs.
Low premium junk insurance will cover only certain health problems, supplemental plans needed for other expenses, while fixed-dollar indemnity plans will provide a designated amount per day toward medical expenses, not nearly enough when high-cost.
The CBO considers individuals with this type coverage uninsured “because they do not have financial protection from major medical risks.”
Minimal coverage plans in America have been around a long time. They work OK for healthy people, not sick ones, especially with expensive illnesses.
The cost of medical care in America is double the annual per capita amount in other developed countries, why it’s the leading cause of personal bankruptcies.
If healthy individuals buy cheap junk insurance, others with health issues needing comprehensive coverage will end up paying much more than now – because insurers know people buying more expensive plans believe they’ll need them.
Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler calls this arrangement “the worst scenario.”
Premiums will rise for fuller-coverage plans. Insurers will exit markets because “the only people you’re insuring are the” ones needing it to pay high medical expenses.
“Giving people more choices always looks popular,” he explained. Below the surface, standards are lacking, so “you wind up (with) a race to the bottom.”
Sick individuals end up needing high-cost plans they can’t afford. Healthy ones either buy junk insurance without catastrophic coverage or none at all.
The solution not taken is obvious – government-provided universal coverage, everyone in, no one left out, the world’s richest nation failing to uphold a fundamental human right.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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