Comparing U.S. Health Insurance To Other Developed Nations: Some SurprisesUSA Today reports on "how other developed countries provide and pay for health care compared with the U.S. system, based on the most recent information available." For example, they report that "Germany requires people making less than about $70,000 a year to have health insurance, which is operated by more than 200 competing, non-profit insurance companies." Sweden has a universal health care program "funded through central and local taxes and co-payments on services. The national government regulates the system, but the local governments organize the care facilities." Canada also has universal health care, but "many Canadians purchase insurance to supplement the government program." Italy, Spain, Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France are also assessed (Seaman, 9/23).
The Washington Post reports on the national health insurance system in France. "Most French people have grown up with the idea that the government is the ultimate guarantor of health care, even for people who cannot afford to pay. But the fast-rising cost of drugs and medical care, particularly for the elderly in their final days, has raised the question of how long France can afford the health care it has come to expect. Seeking to beat back rising deficits, the government has reduced the reimbursement rate for many medicines and routine medical services, opening a growing market for private insurance policies, called mutuals, to cover the steadily increasing co-payments." As the system has changed, it has "begun to evolve toward something resembling Medicare, the health insurance for older people in the United States, except that it covers people of all ages. The shift is regarded as inevitable, specialists said, but increasingly it is raising the delicate question of how much the government will be forced to resort to even higher co-payments in the years ahead" (Cody, 9/23). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.