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The US health sector has been able to incorporate some of the aspects that are associated with the other OECD countries due to the similarities that these nations have. Although the American health sector has evolved independently, there are those similar challenges faced by each society and that impacted heavily in the manner in which their health systems are evolved. The similarities include the impact of age on individuals’ health, their health risks or statuses, care rationing, as well as the level of dissatisfaction that the citizens have with their health care systems (McDavid et al 2135).

With regard to age, individuals in each of the eight nations experience deterioration of their physical health, the situation that ushers in other related challenges as declining fertility, weakening of the immune system, as well as loss of sight and hearing capacity. In this case, it becomes almost certain that as individuals advance in age, their requirements for medical attention increase. Thus, their medical bills increase proportionally, thereby prompting the stakeholders to undertake measures that could mitigate the effect of age on health and financial stability of individuals. Since the effect of age in each of the OECD countries is almost similar, their medical and insurance systems have evolved in such a manner that bears similarities to each others’ (OECD 30).

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In most of the eight OECD countries, the citizens are dissatisfied with the manner in which service delivery is accomplished. There is much complaining about the slowness that they experience even when their conditions happen to be critical. In this case, there are those who feel that their governments, apart from the measures they have taken to ensure insurance coverage for all, have been letting them down as they are not attended as they should be (Harrington and Crawford 20-24). The issue of health care has always been revisited in all these countries, especially, during the campaigning for political offices, since the citizens do not relent in demanding for quality medical services. Some of the stakeholders have been arguing that the challenge can only be solved by increasing the number of health care practitioners. Others insist that with proper management, even the current level of resources and personnel is adequate to avail the expected levels of service delivery (McDavid et al 2135).

The health care system in each of the eight nations is funded through the tax revenues. Over half of them make use of combination of payroll, general tax funds, and the consumption taxes while funding the health care expenses. These measures are undertaken in endeavor to enhance the universality of nations’ provision of medical services to their citizens as per their needs and expectations (Harrington and Crawford 20-24). As indicated earlier, there have been various reform strategies that have impacted on the collection of revenue that is aimed at funding the national health insurance policies. These measures are undertaken with the view of safeguarding the interests of the patients, and since the challenges that these societies face, bear similarities, the strategies of overcoming them are remarkably similar. It is for this reason that the authorities have instituted similar funding strategies (OECD 30).

With exception of America and Norway, the rest of the OECD countries have a relatively similar strategy in budgeting for their medical expenses. Nevertheless, all the eight countries have among the best funded health care systems in the world. In this case, they are all considered to be global leaders in terms of provision of health services. Being industrialized nations where the level of income is relatively high, the private insurance strategies in each of these nations have been fruitful. All these nations have utilized such strategies in endeavor to supplement their comprehensive national plans (Kovner et al 5).

The period between 2002 and 2007 saw a remarkable annual increase in the per capita health care expenditure in all the eight nations. This has been attributable, in part, to the increasing costs of securing supplies and professional services as well as to the rising costs of insurance. In America, the cost is set to rise, especially, after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act becomes fully operational. Although it is perceived that the act will facilitate universal coverage, at times the associated costs have been considered to be inhibitive. In fact, there have been several instances where stakeholders have sought to derail the implementation of such measures in order to avoid the associated costs (Kovner et al 5).

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, alongside the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, serve as the fundamental health care reform legislations that have been passed by the Congress of the United States. The PPACA requires of those individuals who are not covered by their employers and those who may not be under the insurance plans that are sponsored by the government to maintain minimum level of insurance coverage. Failure to do so attracts penalty and only those who remain uninsured on the basis of their religious believes or financial hardships are exempted. The PPACA also serves as the basis for reforming some fundamental issues that relate to the public insurance programs as well as those that are based on the private health insurance sector. The goal of such reforms is to facilitate the coverage of a significant number of citizens who are still uninsured (Glanz et al 23).

The PPACA has been a subject of court battles between the federal government and an alliance of state governments, individuals, and organizations. Although most of the critics challenge the constitutionality of the law, the law promises a major step towards making the American health care accessible to every citizen. It incorporates a number of provisions that are aimed at taking effect over couple of years (Harrington and Crawford 20-24). The law is aimed at enabling a significant number of the US citizens as well as those who will be legally residing in the country to have health insurance coverage by 2015. Before then, there will be sweeping changes in the insurance regulations. The changes include the consideration of anyone under the age of 26 as a dependant and, therefore, covered under the premiums of the caregiver. Other changes include the introduction and diversification of the Medicare coverage, limitation of the consideration of pre-existing conditions, as well as the elimination of the lifetime and annual limits (Harrington and Crawford 20-24).

As it has been aforementioned, the act makes use of tax penalties to prompt individuals into having the health insurance coverage. The tax penalties also encourage individuals to have conformed to revised rules by 2014. By 2014, it will be mandatory for the employers to provide their employees with minimum coverage. Failure to provide such coverage will be attracting penalties. The act also establishes a national Long Term Care program whose membership is voluntary. The program became operational in 2011 and among other things it provides the facility for availing wellness grants to the employees. In 2011, much of the requirements that were associated with Medicare clinical management were eliminated. The same year also saw the reduction of Medicare providers’ fees so as to achieve the Medicaid expansion whose groundwork had been laid in 2010 (Glanz et al 23).

The adaptation of the Insurance Industry to the American Medical Reforms.

Under normal circumstances, the insurance risk-selection practices are reflected in the pricing of the production that is offered at the market. In situations where a significant level of risk is expected, the prices of the products are higher. Much of the risk that is presumed when an individual is applying for a health insurance package is determined through the evaluation of such pre-existing conditions as terminal illnesses, prior accidents, as well as the vulnerability that is introduced by, for example, working environment. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits the evaluation of most of these pre-existing conditions as they only serve to raise the premiums, thereby keeping more citizens uninsured. Such prohibitions are some of the reasons that the critics sued the federal government for introducing measures that were unconstitutional. Nevertheless, until the act is overturned, the insurance has to reform so as to adapt to the reforms (Harrington and Crawford 20-24).

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Although the PPACA has proved to be an effective strategy of mitigating the challenges that comes with being uninsured, critics argue that it will widen the price gap between the group and individual health insurance policies. This will have been caused by increase in the cost of individual insurance. In this case, the act is viewed as being counterproductive since it bars a section of the society from acquiring group insurance. This is perceived to be a negation to other benefits that may be availed by the act. Another challenge is that since the act will cause a significant reduction in the number of uninsured citizens, per capital costs of insurance will increase dramatically, and this will have effect on budgets as well as the economy on the whole. The government may, consequently, be forced to tighten the standards of pricing and practice for the service providers. However, this would have an effect of shifting costs from a section of the citizens to other ones (OECD 30).

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Acts have made the provision of health care services in America unique as compared to the rest of the countries. Despite minor differences, the current state of affairs makes these differences to be clearly observable. The next section addresses some of the differences between the health sectors of these nations.

Characteristics of the American Health Care System.

In America, access to health care services is liberalized to greater extent than in any of the other seven OECD nations. The US citizens have a choice of wider range of providers than in the case of the other nations. They also have an avenue of accessing specialized care without much of the hindrances being experienced in several other nations. Studies have indicated that the American health sector is one of the few which avail services with little variations as per the income of the individuals being concerned. Nonetheless, the American citizens have the responsibility of effecting their own enrollments. This is because, unlike the rest of the OECD nations, eligibility to an insurance cover does not result into an automatic enrollment (Glanz et al 23).

Unlike most of the OECD countries, America employs different types of financial models as per the population segment under consideration. The population is segmented according to such factors as age, veteran status, and income. This segmentation is meant to facilitate the specialization of service provision as per needs of the individuals being concerned. The system was adopted after it became clear that generalization was missing the point of availing quality medical care to the citizens. Since the health care system has to operate with a limited level of finances, it has become prudent to segment the members of the society as per their medical needs.

In addition to the costs that are incurred during the general health care administration, the American medical system incurs costs in terms of the employer’s management planning, claim processing, as well as the marketing expenses. Most of these costs are then passed on to the consumer, the situation that ends up making the provision of insurance services more expensive that it is necessary. This serves to keep an extra number of individuals outside the insurance coverage, thereby negating the measures that successive governments have been instituting in endeavor to enhance health care affordability. The increasing cost of insurance coverage has other reasons with including instances of malpractices as well as cost transfers. Studies have indicated that the effect of these costs increases the cost of the total health care expenditure by between 10 and 15 percent (Glanz et al 23).

The Challenges of the Universal Health Care System in America.

Stakeholders in the American health care system face an enormous level of challenges while availing services to the society. Some of the most common challenges include the increasing rate of obesity, prevalence of an inactive lifestyle in several sections of the society, as well as other issues such as teenagers’ pregnancies and drug addiction. Most of these factors deteriorate the health of the citizens in general, and this causes a significant increase in cost of providing adequate medical services in America. The sector is strained with taking care of some of the issues that are avoidable instead of enhancing quality of other inevitable medical challenges (Glanz et al 23).

The American government has been making strides towards the provision of quality health care services to its citizens. In this regard, the government has enacted laws such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care, as well as the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Acts in endeavor to increase accessibility of services to the citizens. As it has already been mentioned, the government segments the citizens according to their needs so as to avail services in the best possible way. These endeavors are undertaken as the needy individuals are quality insensitive as well as a price blind ones. Additionally, most of the reimbursement plans support inelastic price models that are responsible for the creation of one of those health care systems that are the most expensive in the world (Nolte and McKee 58).


While assessing how the quality of health care provision in America compares with those of other nations, this study has evaluated a number of parameters. This was necessary since health care provision is the incorporation of several activities that interact in a complex manner. Evaluating the system on the basis of multiple dimensions is the best strategy to assess the performance indicators that influence on the health systems of different countries (Braithwaite et al 42-45). A significant number of studies relating to the manner in which the quality of healthcare in the United States compares with those of other nations have been published. This study has been a review of some of these studies with the aim of utilizing the findings to formulate the insight on the manner in which the American health care system compares with those of other nations (Glanz et al 23).

The study has explored the manner in which quality is assessed by use of those measures that are based on individuals’ health status in each of these societies. However, the findings do not avail a definitive conclusion when there is the assessment of how the American health care system compares with those of the rest of the OECD nations. The point is that no matter how carefully a study is undertaken, the evidence base is always incomplete and it suffers from several other limitations. Therefore, the conclusion that the American health care system is the best in the world cannot be formulated from a factual basis. Indeed, there has never been hard evidence that could identify the specific areas that proved that the American health care system is fundamentally exceptional (Feldstein 17-20).

The conclusion that emerges from the evaluation of the available statistics on quality and other related aspects, indeed, is an implication, and the implication is that the United States could be performing relatively better in some areas as compared to other countries. Nevertheless, there is not any precise data to answer the question as to whether the American health care sector is superior to those of other nations (Braithwaite et al 42-45). The issue of health care is a complex one, and while some aspects of the American system may be superior to that one of Canada, for example,  there are several other aspects that indicate the superiority of the Canadian system over the American one. However, the strength of the American system is presumably founded on the state-of-the-art care and technology. America achieves such levels of care and technology due to the capacity of the government to avail adequate resources in research and management of the system (Nolte and McKee 58). Nevertheless, reform is critical so as to avail quality healthcare to as many citizens as possible.

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