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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Health care systems review

In my browsing, I cam across a review of health care finance systems:
http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-613.pdf

It was published on the Cato Institute Website in 2008 making it a little bit dated. However, in my experience, it is the best summary which focuses on comparisons of organizational structure, funding sources, and challenges. For those of you who are skeptical of the Cato conservative market-based orientation, get past the Executive summary and dive into the meat of the report. There are many nuanced differences in how systems are organized, many of which I was completely unaware of. For this reason alone, this report is worth reading.

I believe the author's conclusions are supported by the data in the report:
•Health insurance does not mean universalaccess to health care. In practice, many countries
promise universal coverage but ration care or have long waiting lists for treatment.
• Rising health care costs are not a uniquely American phenomenon. Although other countries spend considerably less than the United States on health care, both as a percentage of GDP and per capita, costs are rising almost everywhere, leading to budget deficits, tax increases, and benefit reductions.
• In countries weighted heavily toward government control, people are most likely to face waiting lists, rationing, restrictions on physician choice, and other obstacles to care.
• Countries with more effective national health care systems are successful to the degree that they incorporate market mechanisms such as competition, cost sharing, market prices, and consumer choice, and eschew centralized government control.

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