Universal Healthcare

Universal healthcare is designed to provide all citizens of a particular country equal access to quality healthcare. Its goal is to ensure that no one will be without health coverage should they need it nor will they have to worry about incurring huge out of pocket costs.

The way that healthcare is delivered can be complex and economically driven, leaving the most needy with limited access to the medical care that they need; simply because they cannot afford it. This translates into health care costs for the uninsured that must be absorbed somewhere; increased burden on the insured, higher taxes and out of control health care costs.

Universal Healthcare was designed to bridge that gap by finding ways to fund healthcare coverage for all citizens of a particular country.

Citizens and/or other entities may be responsible for paying all health care premiums. These entities, like the government for one, have a vested interest in prompting wellness and healthy living. The connection between good medical and preventative care and lower health care costs is evident. Some countries like Canada, for one, has adopted some very strict health regulations and have banned some of the "unhealthy" foods and drinks that are common in America.

Universal Healthcare has numerous different funding systems, from employers to private citizens to the government. Countries that offer Universal Healthcare, are also encouraged to find alternative ways to fund healthcare for all of its citizens, perhaps by adding special taxes for some goods like tobacco or alcohol or by having community based health plans. Private health plans may also be available as a supplement to their current coverage.

Universal Healthcare is not a perfect solution and it is not without some negatives. Not all services are covered for everyone and exclusions for certain conditions and treatments could apply. Patients have even been required to go on a waiting list for certain treatments and services resulting in a delay of months, sometimes years, for medical care or surgery resulting in poorer outcomes and even death. There has even been those so frustrated with the delay of care under Universal healthcare that they migrated to America to have their health services preformed. 

Universal Healthcare costs are paid for in various ways, including:

  • Single Payer - Health care is paid by the government.
  • Tax-Based Financing - Individuals are assessed taxes.
  • Social Health Insurance - Costs are paid by workers, the self-employed, businesses and/or government.
  • Community-Based Health Insurance - Members of a specific community all make payments to a health fund that they use when they need medical care.

How does the Affordable Care Act compare to Universal Care?

Universal Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act are not the same. The expectation of equal access to care with low out of pocket costs under Universal Care is not represented under the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is but one of the many healthcare delivery options in America. Medicare, Medicaid, employer group plans, individual plans, etc., being the other options; all have a wide range of plan designs, benefits, provisions and provider access. But despite the vast array of options, America still has a large number of citizens without any form of health insurance coverage, and others who, although insured, are unable to afford the huge out of pocket costs. 

Countries with Some Form of Universal Healthcare:

Norway, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Sweden, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Netherlands, Austria, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Slovenia, Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, South Korea, Iceland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Israel. 

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