International Health Care Systems

Finding the Canadian, British, and German health care systems right here in the U.S.

What is the health care system like in other countries? Is the medical care in Canada superior to that of the U.S., or do they lack technology and have long waiting lines? Is Germany’s employer-provided health insurance better than ours?

On NPR’s Fresh Air, author T.R. Reid explains that you don’t need travel anywhere to experience how health care works in other nations. We have the Canadian, British, German, and Third World health care systems right here in the U.S.

  • Canada. Medicare is just like the Canadian medical system. In fact, Lyndon B. Johnson borrowed the term Medicare from the Canadians. Just like in Canada, American Medicare is a single payer system, where the providers (i.e., physicians) are not directly employed by the government.
  • United Kingdom. The Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system is similar to the health care system in the UK. The VA is a single payer system where providers are employed directly by the VA, just like in Britain.
  • Germany. Just like for most Americans, in Germany, individuals receive health insurance through their employer. The Prussian Otto von Bismark, in fact, developed this system of social insurance. German “sickness funds” are very similar to the employer-provided health insurance under which most employed Americans are covered.
  • Third World. In most third world countries, you only receive medical care if you can pay for it yourself. This is how life is for the 47 million uninsured Americans.

Mr. Reid also has an interesting article in the Washington Post, debunking some of the myths concerning other countries health care systems.

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