KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Japanese Health Care: Lower Costs And Nearly No Bankruptcy

The New York Times, in a series of ongoing stories about health care delivery in other countries, interviewed John Creighton Campbell, of the University of Michigan and visiting researcher at the Tokyo University Institute of Gerontology who has studied Japan's health care system.

Campbell talked about Japans's lower costs, shortcomings and what Americans can learn from the Japanese system.

"'Japan has about the lowest per capita health care costs among the advanced nations of the world, and its population is the healthiest,'" Campbell told The New York Times. "'Everyone in Japan is covered by insurance for medical and dental care and drugs. People pay premiums proportional to their income to join the insurance pool determined by their place of work or residence. Insurers do not compete, and they all cover the same services and drugs for the same price, so the paperwork is minimal.'"

Medical bankruptcy in Japan is also almost unknown, but organizational "'rigidities have led to inadequate hospital services in some areas, particularly in emergency care,'" The Times reports. "'Japan is not a single-payer system, but like France and Germany, it has been able to control costs by tightly regulating multiple insurers'" (Arnquist, 8/25). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.