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According to the American Institute of Medicine, health care quality is defined as the degree by which access to health services increases the probability of achieving the desired medical outcomes by patients. For the health system to achieve quality provision of services, the level of proficiency of the staff members must be consistent with the current professional knowledge. Having quality services means acting right at the most appropriate time and in the best manner as possible. In this case, ensuring quality enhances the effectiveness of the health care system of a country (Institute of Medicine 11).

The term quality encompasses a range of positive or desirable attributes that the authorities of a country have put in place in endeavor to enhance the performance of their health care systems. Reviewing the medical provision frameworks of different countries facilitates the comparison of the manner in which the aforementioned attributes influence the effectiveness of the health care systems under evaluation. Studies have indicated that the formulation of an effective health care system necessitates the evaluation of such parameters as acceptability, appropriateness, accessibility, competence, and care environment. Others include the availability of amenities that assure continuity, efficiency, governance, equity, responsiveness, timeliness, safety, and responsibility (Lee and Mongan 9-14).

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The superiority of the American health care system has attributed, among other factors, to the insurance coverage that is promptly available and accessible to a significant portion of the society. Comparison of the statistics relating to the American health sector with those of other countries reveals a range of variations. For instance, there are countries that operate hybrid health systems that incorporate the roles of the private as well as the public sector. However, in every country there are varying degrees of cost sharing, such a situation that results into remarkable differences in terms of  design of the insurance scheme, accessibility, as well as the associated cost burden on the part of the patient (Institute of Medicine 11).

In the United States of America, patients have always loathed the high medical expenses that they have to pay even when they happen to be insured. Many of them report that to have spent a significant amount of time while filling insurance paperwork as well as resolving disputes over payments. In some unfortunate circumstances, there are those who have had the payment of a section of their medical bills denied (Institute of Medicine 11). On the same note, studies have indicated that the Germans spend as much time as the Americans do while filling insurance paperwork. Nevertheless, there may be appreciated the measures that have been put in place to safeguard the patients against the out-of-pocket expenditure. The Swiss have always been skeptical about the frameworks that have been instituted to protect the patients since they just like a section of American patients have been experiencing instances of out-of-pocket expenditure (Shi and Singh 67-71).

Insurance coverage has been a matter of concern for quite a long time as it has been viewed as one of the fundamental factors that influence the financial stability of the sick people and their families. Many US citizens regard a comprehensive health reform as being the only strategy that can assure improvement in the accessibility of health care among the low income groups. However, this view has always been countered by criticism that over-emphasis on availability could lower the quality of care that health facilities offer. They argue that although accessibility ought to be encouraged, it should not be at the expense of quality as such a situation would disadvantage everyone across the board. Several observers believe that adequate research should be conducted in endeavor to gain insight with regard to how the designing of insurance coverage would affect quality (Institute of Medicine 11).

The paper evaluates the health systems of eight industrial nations while attempting to establish the basis for assessing how the healthcare provision in American compares with the rest of the world. These nations have been carefully chosen so as to represent every region that has the same level of development as the United States. They include Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. This section commences with an evaluation of the common funding models that are utilized in most of the countries (Lee and Mongan 9-14).

There are four common models of insurance funding. The models include the socialized health care, single payer’s insurance, universal insurance, and the private pay. In the socialized health care, the government retains the ownership and control of all the operations that relate to the delivery of health care. Therefore, the government owns the insurance program, and it facilitates the situation whereby payers are recognized singly. This is the case in such countries as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway.

In Norway, health services are funded, majorly, through the taxation of salaries. Country’s health care system does not have a specified contribution fund, the situation which gives it the characteristics of a socialized health care system. In Norway, unlike most of the countries, the government avails much of the funding that is required in the health care system, and this includes the health system financing. The country operates a single and universal insurance program where everyone is guaranteed a basic level of support in case of involvement in an accident, illness, or any bodily defect (Institute of Medicine 11). The government-sponsored insurance program also supports the citizenry in case of pregnancy, birth of a child, disability, death of a relative, or loss of a breadwinner. Every working citizen who happens to be living in the country is required to contribute so that the government can cater for the aforementioned categories of people, as well as the aged and the unemployed ones. Norway’s insurance system derives much of its funding from payroll taxes that the government charges the workers (Shi and Singh 67-71).

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The Swedish health care system bears some similarities with that one of Norway. The authorities aim at availing health care services to all the citizens. It is for that reason that the system has been devolved into three levels so as to ensure that the service providers are as close as possible to the sick and needy members of the society. In this case, it has been organized on three distinct levels, namely, national, regional and local. The health care system in Sweden, just like in Norway, is funded through taxation. The arrangement has allowed both the county councils and the cities to exercise their right of charging proportional income taxes on the population that live within their jurisdictions. This is the case as a significant number of health care facilities are owned by the respective cities (Institute of Medicine 11).

The health care system in the United Kingdom has a socialized framework. It is such a single payer’s model that is commonly referred to as the National Health Service (NHS). The system is owned, financed, and operated publicly in endeavor to avail a universal health care as well as health insurance to every citizen of Great Britain. In that what is presumably comparable to the situation in Norway and Sweden, the British National Health Service is centrally controlled and funded through taxes that are charged on individuals’ incomes (Shi and Singh 67-71).

In the single payer’s insurance arrangement, the government retains the ownership of the health insurance scheme but not the entire health care service delivery system. Therefore, it concerns itself with matters relating to the regulation and issuing of policies to the interested parties without attempting to dominate in the health care system taken as a whole. Such an arrangement is predominantly utilized in Canada, the scenario that has created an environment where the private and public sectors specialize during the provision of health services in the country. In Canada, the provision of health care is managed separately in each of the country’s three regions and ten provinces. In this case, while Canada has 13 separate single payers’ systems, they are all structured in the same manner. This means that, as to an observer, Canada has a single national plan for managing the provision of medical services. Currently, Canada has the reputation of having among the best health systems in the world. It sometimes is presumed to be superior to that of America (Shi and Singh 67-71).

Where the universal insurance arrangement has been instituted, government’s role is limited to mandating and regulating the insurance coverage. Nevertheless, it is not engaged in the provision of polices. Furthermore, government’s role in the ownership and operation of the health care delivery system is insignificant. The private sector is allowed room to engage in much of the operations relating to provision of health care services to the citizens. The model is commonly utilized in Japan, France, and Germany. These three countries have some of the most superior health care systems in the world, the situation which underscores the importance of eliminating challenges that the private sector faces in making its contribution towards the enhancement of the health sector. Much of the innovation has its basis in the private sector and, in this case, restraining private contributions may, actually, derail the efforts that are geared towards enhancing accessibility, affordability, and quality of health care in the country (McDavid et al 2135).

The National Health Care program in France is the responsibility of the country’s social security system. A significant portion of the program, i.e. 60 percent, is funded through workers’ salaries. The remainder comes from the indirect taxes that are imposed on tobacco and alcohol as well as host of other modest taxes.

In Germany, the government has mandated a universal insurance coverage which invites the participation of every citizen. The participation of the citizens may be in terms of an employer-sponsored sickness fund or the plan that incorporates private insurance enterprises. Majority of the insurance plans in Germany are funded by either employees or their employers. Various local governments step in to provide funding for the unemployed as well as those who belong to the low income category. Much of the insurance funding for the elderly and retirees has been the role of the national government, such a role that is quite limited as compared to other categories of insurance funding arrangements (Shi and Singh 67-71).

The national health insurance program in Japan is one of those that are complex in the world. It incorporates over 2,000 private insurers and 3,000 government units into a single system. The system is superior to many others in the world as it is able to pay for over 70 percent of the drug and medical costs that are incurred when individuals seek medical attention. The patients are required to pay just 30 percent of the bills. The insurance premiums are carefully calculated so as to facilitate their charging on a monthly per household basis. The premiums are, actually, scaled as per individuals’ annual income (McDavid et al 2135).

The last arrangement is commonly referred to as private pay. In this case, everyone pays for his or her own health care expenditure. This is usually the case in much of the countries of the developing world. In fact, studies have indicated that of 195 countries in the world, only about 35 utilize the other three models. In this case, over 80 percent of the entire population of the world has to foot their medical bills themselves.

The aforementioned cases indicate that most of the nations have a single and universally applicable health care financing system. This is the case irrespective of whether a nation utilizes a socialized health care, single payer, or universal insurance model. The United States of America utilizes the option that incorporates some of the aspects in every one of the aforementioned systems. For instance, those who choose to remain uninsured and those who fail to qualify for medical insurance have the option of utilizing a patient’s private pay model (McDavid et al 2135). Since the recent healthcare reform laws did not require the implementation of a universal health care system, the option of being in a patient’s private pay model has been retained. Nevertheless, the government has instituted measures that are aimed at encouraging everyone to get insurance. For instance, those who opt to remain uninsured are charged a special tax as they as presumed to be causing a derailment to government’s efforts of ensuring the universal access to health care. The following section deals with some of the reforms that have been put in place in endeavor to enhance service delivery in the American health care system (Harrington and Crawford 20-24).

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