Universal health care which is also known as universal health coverage is a system of health care that takes care of the citizens belonging to a given country health wise and financially. The provision of these services is done irrespective of ones social status, gender, income, age, wealth or ones pre-existing status or condition. This shows that as long as one is a legal member who is certified in a specific jurisdiction then that person is eligible for the universal health care. This health care service is usually funded by the government or has been subsidized by the central authority of the given region. The system is organized in a way that it will provide a specific package that will benefit the citizens of the given country with an objective or goal of covering these citizens from a financial turmoil when seeking for health services by providing a financial protection, providing health services as well as improving the outcome of the health services that they provide (WHO). However despite this system providing these health services and offering financial protection, it does not have one service for every consumer in that it has diverse services that are offered to people as to per their needs and preferences. Furthermore, it does not offer coverage for everything to the people. The universal health care can be categorized in three ways; the person who is being covered by this system, which services are being covered by the system and the amount of money being covered by the system.
Universal health care in almost all the countries has and is being achieved through the model of mixed funding. The tax revenue is the major source of funds to this system in most countries. However in other countries this source of funds is supplemented with other sources of funds such as specified levies that are either levied upon an individual or employee and/or an employer and in other cases the system is funded through payments done by individuals privately. These payments that are done privately are done to pay for services that may not be covered by the health care system. In Europe, all health care systems are funded through private and public payments. However, in most countries in the world, the universal health care is funded by the tax revenue.
The extent in which the government is involved in the provision of the universal health care makes these systems of health care to vary from one country to another. In countries such as Italy, the UK, Australia and Spain, the government is highly involved in the delivery and provision of the health services. The residence rights determine ones access to the health services in these countries and not ones ability to purchase the insurance. Other countries have a pluralistic system of delivery whereby this system is based upon health that is obligatory and has rates of insurance that are contributory which are in relation to peoples salaries and are funded most of the times by the employers and other beneficiaries in unison (Malcolm). (Antonia).
However, with all the pros of the universal health care and the huge amounts of money being spent by the government in the delivery of these health services, there are cons to it. These are as below (Formosa Post);
The amount of time one spends in waiting. The universal health care system consumes a lot of time when it comes to serving the patients. A patient may wait for a long time before being attended to.
When launching a universal health care system, it takes a lot of time to finally get there. This is because there are a lot of regulations, rules and procedures to be followed. Trials and errors will be involved and other technical difficulties before the system is finally achieved.
Inequality in the provision of services. Not all the patients receive the same type of health services that they require and this is as a result of inadequate revenue to cater for this system. The system is run by the government and there tend to be inadequate funds due to either bureaucracy or corruption leading to fewer funds. With fewer funds, the services that are offered at the health units are inadequate and insufficient.
Increment in the governments debt. The universal health care system is a large system. Governments are known not to be efficient in managing these large systems. The health care system requires a lot of funds and with this the government reduces the amount of funds dedicated to other sectors in the economy so as to provide for the health care system. This weakens the other sectors from which the funds are obtained from, financially. This leads to the government borrowing from foreign governments so as to cater for the expenses of the government.
There is no competition the government faces when it comes to the provision of these health services. This has resulted to the system becoming inefficient in some sectors since the government has no incentive to provide better medical services as well as carry out researches to come up with better ways to serve the public. In addition to this, the staffs who work in this system are paid lesser than those who work in private health systems. This does not motivate the staffs leading to most leaving to search for greener pastures. This results to the shortage of doctors in the universal health care system.
In order to solve the issues, which curb the efficient provision of the health care services by the universal health care system, the following is to be done (AARP);
Support innovation. The government should dedicate some of the funds to the health system that will enable research and development. Through this, the government will come up with better ways of improving the health care system. With innovations in the system, there will be efficiency and sufficiency in the provision of health care services leading to the betterment of the health system.
Unifying the health care system will be another approach in improving it. This is whereby all the health care services provided will be linked. This will reduce the amount of money used to transit from one level of care to the other in addition to the reduction of the problems involved in this transition.
The transparency of the health system should be improved. The government plus the staffs should be accountable for all the activities that take place in the provision of the health services. With the government and the staff becoming accountable for these activities, the transparency of this system will improve.
Increment of the salaries of the staffs. One of the problems that lead to doctors and other staffs from leaving the public health units and going to the private health units is insufficient remunerations. Therefore, to attract and retain these employees, the government should increase the amount of salaries paid to the doctors and other staffs.
The government should create a pool of funds by investing in worthy projects which will result to huge turnovers in which it would be able to obtain enough funds to cater for the universal health care. This will prevent the government from taking funds from other sectors of the economy as well as preventing the government from getting into debts.
With these reforms in the health system will be improved. This will ensure that everyone can easily access the health services which are quality without making someone use all their funds in seeking medical services hence forcing people to poverty (Antonio). Through these ways the universal health care will save lives of many who do not have adequate funds to seek medical services, it will end poverty that is extreme, it will build resilience against the effects of health that are brought about by changes in climate and help in ending epidemics that are deadly like Ebola.
AARP. Top Doctors: How to Fix Health Care. April, 2015. Aarp.org Website. 2016
Antonia, M. Parting at the Crossroads: the emergence of health insurance in the United States and Canada. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1998.
Formosa Post. Pros & Cons of Universal Health Care. 8th February, 2016. Formosapost.com Website. 2016
Malcolm, T.G. Insuring National Health Care: The Canadian Experience. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1990.
World Health Organization. The WHO report: Health Systems Financing: the path to universal coverage. November 22, 2010. WHO.org Website. 2016
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