Essay Sample Comparing Healthcare Systems of US and Great Britain

Published: 2022-03-25
Essay Sample Comparing Healthcare Systems of US and Great Britain
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Healthcare Healthcare policy
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1157 words
10 min read

Arguably, the healthcare system in every country is a representation of the country's future. Owing to the fact that healthcare is a highly concrete element which makes the people healthy and stress-free, every country ought to have healthcare policies which support the healthy environment within the country. When compared and contrasted, the healthcare systems of the United States and the United Kingdom are close representations of the extremes, with the United States having the most extensive private-sector system and Great Britain having one of the world's public healthcare systems (Brown, 2003). This being said, the core intent of this essay is to compare the United States' healthcare system with that of the United Kingdom.

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To begin with, the availability and the accessibility of the British health care system is considered complex by most Americans. More fundamentally, the British National Healthcare System is deemed a social insurance system, which operates on the notion that healthcare is right and not privileged. The United States, on the other hand, has a system that supports the social insurance in which case everyone pays, and everybody gets treatment because the National Healthcare System (NHS) is publicly funded.

Similarly, healthcare accessibility for the children in the United States is relatively high as compared to Great Britain. This is exemplified by the fact that the U.S has a Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provides comprehensive but yet affordable healthcare coverage to an average of 44 million children. This value is also complemented by the children coverage options that are offered by the Affordable Care Act () in which case about 94% of the Children in the United States get access to health coverage. Nonetheless, a majority of the U.S children who are eligible for CHIP and Medicaid are uninsured. On the other hand, the British healthcare, the system provides the most widely accessible treatment for almost all the citizens. More specifically, despite the fact that the British healthcare system requires every working person to pay an average $6.85 prescription charges, the system exempts children under the age of 16 years, the old, pregnant women, the unemployed as well as the low-income earners from paying any prescription charges.

Notably, the United States and the United Kingdom's healthcare systems differ in relation to the medication coverage. For instance, the United States which has an overall population of over 3.5 million people forms one of the world's most complex health care systems. This being the case, the United States medication coverage is almost exclusively dome by the private sector providers. More fundamentally, the United States hospitals are owned by either the non-profit companies or the profit companies. For this reason, approximately 84% of the United States population gets access to health care through the combination of the private health insurance, Medicaid programs, and the Medicare (Formosa Post, 2018). On the downside, the remaining percentage of the population primarily depend on charity or even their financial charity care to cover their medical care needs. This is, however, not the case with the British Healthcare system which entirely depends on the National Health Service (NHS). Based on this context, the England NHS offers universal healthcare that is free to almost all individual, at the point of care. This service is usually funded and also centrally governed by the taxes.

On the other hand, referrals are the link between primary and specialty care. Therefore, with regard to specialist referrals, in the United States, more than a third of the patients are given referrals to a specialist every year. However, regardless of the number of referrals done in the United States every year, the referral process is considered complex since it requires actions from various entities. More fundamentally, for one to get a successful referral in the United States, one has to have a verified medical insurance cover which will be submitted by the provider's medical assistant and finally approved by the specialist. Great Britain's healthcare system also makes referrals only that they are entirely different from the United States (Forrest, 2002). For example, unlike in the United States, patients in the United Kingdom are entitled to inquire for a referral for consultant treatment on the NHS. Nonetheless, for any patient to obtain a successful referral on the NHS, one ought to have received a legal authorization from their General Practice (GP) doctor. Based on the fact that a majority of the referrals in the UK are covered by the NHS, there is a limitation that stipulates that patients are only allowed to make self-referrals only for accident and emergency (A&E) treatment and for sexual health treatments.

By definition, a pre-existing medical condition is an illness, disorder or an ailment, with reasonable medical certainty, existed for a certain period of time before the effective date of the medical insurance cover. Both the British and the United States healthcare systems offer different coverages for these conditions. For instance, in the UK, the healthcare system requires that the patient has a Private Medical Insurance (PMI) which provides coverage for most pre-existing conditions which may be inclusive of surgery and various other medical conditions. However, for one to qualify for a PMI coverage, they ought to have revealed their complete medical histories as required by the UK's moratorium policies which can go up to 5 or 10 years (Forrest, 2002). Also, these moratorium policies usually exclude the coverage of any pre-existing conditions if they were present during the given period. On the other hand, with reference to the Obama Care, the United States' healthcare system does not support any visitor medical insurance plan that covers pre-existing conditions. However, only a few medical insurance plans in the United States offer coverage to acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions but with the terms of up to a particular limit.

Evidently, there is a great difference between the services deliveries in the two healthcare systems discussed above. This, in essence, brings about significant financial implications for the patients accessing the two healthcare systems. For instance, patients in the United States tend to pay more money for medical care access because the insurance covers only a small portion of the medical finances. Besides, in the case of patients with pre-existing medical conditions, the fact that the United States health care system does not support insurance coverage to these people only means adverse financial implications for the patients. This is however different from the United Kingdom healthcare system where the NHS covers the most significant amount of the patients. This means that the patients have more favorable financial implications as compared to patients from the United States' healthcare systems.


Brown, L. D. (2003). Comparing Health Systems in Four Countries: Lessons for the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 93(1), 52-56. doi:10.2105/ajph.93.1.52

Formosa Post. (2018, January 30). United States and United Kingdom: A Comparison of Health Care Systems. Retrieved from

Forrest, C. B. (2002). Comparison of specialty referral rates in the United Kingdom and the United States: retrospective cohort analysis. BMJ, 325(7360), 370-371. doi:10.1136/bmj.325.7360.370

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