Comparison Essay Sample: Healthcare System in the U.S. and Japan

Published: 2022-05-26
Comparison Essay Sample: Healthcare System in the U.S. and Japan
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Healthcare
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1719 words
15 min read

In this essay, the healthcare system of the United States of America will be compared to that of Japan. Both healthcare systems have their strengths and weaknesses. The following are the strengths of Japan's healthcare system;

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The government dictates the costs of the healthcare system in Japan. This means that the government is responsible for controlling hospital expenses unlike in some countries (TEFL Articles, 2016).

Patients have the freedom to choose a hospital of their choice and the medical experts who should attend to them. Unlike in some countries, medical care is not delayed in Japan. This freedom allows the patient to choose a hospital that suits them.

The payment of physicians is the same as a standard procedure. Therefore, all physicians are at the same level provided that they are performing the same procedure (Yamauchi, 1999).

In Japan, patients are always advised on the best drugs that they should take based on their medical condition. Dental care is also covered by the government of the country, and this makes it possible for the citizens to afford the medical care (TEFL Articles, 2016).

Despite the numerous strengths of the healthcare system in Japan, it has the following weaknesses;

The government does not cover delivery. Health exams are also not covered, and since some of them tend to be expensive, it becomes difficult for the citizens in the middle and low-income class to afford them (Yamauchi, 1999).

The healthcare system of this country uses the most expensive equipment. Prescribed drugs are also expensive, and this affects the overall economy of the nation since the government covers some of the expenses (Yamauchi, 1999).

In Japan, patients are encouraged to stay at hospitals for an extended period of up to 40 days. This tends to interfere with their routine activities especially if they recover earlier than the expected period. In Japan, home nursing is not available, and this is the primary reason why patients are required to stay at the hospital for a long period if their condition is critical.

The healthcare system of the United States of America is one of the most advanced in the world. Its strengths are discussed below;

Insurance allows patients to receive high-quality medical services that improve their health. This healthcare system provides one of the best quality services in the world (TEFL Articles, 2016).

Detailed research characterizes the healthcare system in this country. This research is aimed at improving the nature of the healthcare so that the quality of services provided can also continue to be high (Cebul, Rebitzer, Taylor, & Votruba, 2008).

The United States of America has employed many physicians to minimize the risk of inadequate health care providers.

The weaknesses of the healthcare system in the United States of America include the following;

To obtain high-quality services, patients must have health insurance. Research shows that insurance does not cover half of the population in the country, and this risks their medical condition (TEFL Articles, 2016).

Unlike in Japan, the cost of medical care in this country per person is very expensive (Cebul et al., 2008).

The outcomes of medical services in this country are poor compared to those of Japan. This is despite the fact that U.S. employs many specialists compared to these countries (TEFL Articles, 2016).

Those who pay small charges are targeted by the healthcare system of the country especially when it intends to cover for uninsured payers in the country.

Comparison of Healthcare Access between Japan and America

The healthcare system of Japan is concerned with the health of children and pregnant women. This is because they are not charged especially for checkup services. The number of free checkups is unlimited, and this encourages both kids and pregnant women to visit medical institutions regularly. Infants are seen for free especially when their medical condition is at risk. The country is also considered with the individuals who are unable to receive medical insurance (Yamauchi, 1999). The government of the country has come up with a system that covers the medical care of the uninsured citizens in the country.

In the United States of America, the cost of programs that are concerned with the health of children is low. Retired individuals in the country are covered by the government primarily when a medical emergency occurs (Cebul et al., 2008). The country has also designed several low-cost departments that provide health care to individuals who are not employed. The primary difference between the healthcare system of the United States of America and that of Japan is the insurance that patients are required to have for them to receive medical coverage.

Coverage for Medication in America and Japan

The US healthcare system pays for the patients who are not insured using Medicaid, military, Veterans Administration, Medicare, or Native American programs. High-quality services are provided for individuals with good insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures that the health insurance coverage is mandatory for every US citizen. Additionally, the insurer must justify increasing the rates by more than ten percent to the policyholder.

The government of Japan covers the employer-purchased insurance and controlling the healthcare expenditures. Several insurance plans are offered which are financed using mandatory deductions from payrolls, patient co-payments, and taxes. The patients will freely choose their insurance provider, and the insurer will get their premiums using a national uniform rate and method that is agreed upon by a council made of citizens, insurers, and providers. There is equitable excess as a consistent fee schedule and price ceiling set by the government controls price increases. The Japan coverage is universal, and prescription drugs and dental care are also covered (Taylor and Cooper, 1994).

Requirements to Get a Referral in Both Countries

Referrals do not apply in Japan. Patients can see specialists at their own will. The government of the country attempts to ensure that patients in the country can get access to medical care at any time. Additionally, discrimination is also avoided since referrals are only accessed by those with the financial capability (Taylor and Cooper, 1994). In the United States of America, medical insurance dictates if patients can obtain referrals to see specialists or not. Appointments are also encouraged in this country when patients develop the urge of seeing specialists (Cebul et al., 2008).

Pre-existing Conditions in Japan and America

Pre-existing conditions usually affect the willingness of the insurer to provide medical coverage to the policyholder. According to the Japan Medical Insurance for Expatriates, some options are offered regarding the pre-existing conditions (2018). First, a cover is given after a waiting period of 24 months from the date of issue of the plan. The insurer considers the cover if within this period the policyholder does not seek any treatment for the condition. Secondly, Japan covers pre-existing conditions if the policyholder will pay a higher premium. However, the condition severity and type will determine whether the insurer will offer the policy or not. There are conditions that the insurer will not cover. Moreover, if the membership of the group exceeds 20 people, the insurer can cover all the individual's pre-existing conditions irrespective of the medical conditions of individual members. Finally, in some cases, the pre-existing conditions are excluded from the cover. Thus, any policyholder who has a plan an exclusion of a pre-existing condition, the insurer will not cover the patient for any treatment relating to the problem.

Conversely, in the United States, the pre-existing conditions insurance plan (PCIP) provides the medical and health cover for the patients who had pre-existing conditions, were uninsured for at least six months, and had were not covered by private insurance companies. This program was however ended in 2014. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensured that no Americans were denied insurance coverage and the PCIP enrollees could start new plans outside the PCIP program. The Obamacare ensured that all American citizens had insured covers despite having pre-existing conditions or not. Thus, patients with pre-existing conditions in America are insured and can receive treatment using their insurance cards. However, the Trump administration wants to repeal this act so that the insurance company can choose not to cover these patients (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).

Financial Implications for Patients in Both Countries

Japan is concerned with the health condition of all individuals including those who are not employed and the aged. The fraction of the aged population in Japan is quite high. The fraction of the individuals who pay premiums and taxes to finance the healthcare systems are few. Since the elderly have greater health risks and require extra care than young generations. Thus, to maintain this funding, the working class will be charged more which will affect their finances. This increases their financial burden. (Taylor & Cooper, 1994). Another implication is that Japanese patients can access the healthcare insure at low prices. This helps to reduce the mortality rate and the life expectancy at birth increases.

The healthcare system in America increases the income inequalities. The ACA act requires that every citizen must be insured. Thus, many Americans who live in extreme poverty will spend more money in covering their healthcare costs which drains their incomes and savings (Cebul et al., 2008). This act favors the rich since they will have no problem with paying the premiums. Additionally, the healthcare costs are rising. The high costs have placed pressure on the cost of health insurance and premiums. The patients from low-income families find it hard to raise the needed premiums hence they end up being uninsured. Similarly, the private companies will refuse to cover patients with pre-existing conditions thus low-income families will suffer.


Cebul, R. D., Rebitzer, J. B., Taylor, L. J., & Votruba, M. E. (2008). Organizational fragmentation and care quality in the US healthcare system. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(4), 93-113.

Japan Medical Insurance for Expatriates. (2018). Pre-existing Conditions. Retrieved from

Taylor, L., & Cooper, E. (1994). Comparing Health Care Systems - Context Institute. Retrieved from

TEFL Articles. (2016). Health Care: The Difference Between U.S. and Japan. Retrieved from

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Health insurance marketplace: summary enrollment report for the initial annual open enrollment period. ASPE Issue Brief. May 1, 2014. aspe. Hhs. gov/sites/default/files/pdf/7687, 6, 1.

Yamauchi, T. (1999). Healthcare system in Japan. Nursing & health sciences, 1(1), 45-48.

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Comparison Essay Sample: Healthcare System in the U.S. and Japan. (2022, May 26). Retrieved from

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