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Healthcare

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The World Health Organization statistics in 2000 ranks the US healthcare system at position 37, far behind France and Switzerland. The US spends $2.6 trillion on healthcare. This is a figure expected to rise, further, in the coming years. Curbing this rising expenditure is important to President Obama’s economic agenda. The recession caused high unemployment and low income, which has put the healthcare system spending in the limelight. President Obama faces the task of coming up with the best health reform for US.

France relies on both the private and government insurance, similar to the U.S. Therefore, each citizen in France has access to medical cover. The US considers the universal coverage as a system where the citizens will give up their choice of doctors. France gives the patients liberty to choose doctors and hospitals. National insurance pays seventy percent of medical bills in France. Private insurers or the individual pay the remaining 30 percent. Moreover, those with long-standing and costly illnesses like cancer get 100 percent medical cover from the government.

The cost of this kind of healthcare is very expensive, but lower compared to the US. Healthcare spending in US in 2005 was $6400 per person while, in France, it was $3300. The workers in France pay next to 21% of their returns to the countrywide health care system. Americans end up paying more due the additional unplanned expenses for medicine and other services. This is attributable to their low tax returns. This system of health care has adverse economic disadvantages. Like any other nation, France faces the challenge of rising healthcare costs. It has become particularly problematic to bring these expenses under control. In 2007, the countrywide health structure ran next to $9 billion debt. This forced the government to charge more on drugs.

The Swiss Federal Health Insurance Act of 1994 requires private insurers to cover every Swiss citizen. The residents are also under obligation to take out basic health cover. This system relies heavily on the private sector, though not fully. Switzerland has a range of health insurers closely watched by the government to ensure that anyone who applies for cover is accepted. These insurance companies are not profit making, which makes the cost of medical cover relatively low compare to the US. The system gives liberty to its residents to go to any specialist. The quality of healthcare in Switzerland is very good. The Swiss have ensured that their wards and emergency rooms are not crowded. Their patients receive medical attention in the best way possible.

However, this system has is heavily fragmented. The country comes just after the US on the percentage of G.D.P spent on healthcare. The system forces insurance companies to offer a non-profit service to everyone, which may in turn lead to poor services. The Swiss system is limited; it does not extend to benefits such as dental plans and private hospital rooms. In consequence, people have to pay extra, to access supplemental insurance cover. The cost of health insurance cover in the country is relatively high. For instance, in 2004, around a third of the Swiss population received government subsidies to offset insurance costs.

The US, therefore, should adopt the health care system of France, due to several reasons. First, it is cost effective. The Swiss system is good. However, it is extremely expensive. For instance, a 25 year old pays the same premiums as an 80-year-old individual. The Swiss have a higher purchasing power compared to Americans, according to OECD statistics. It is therefore unlikely that all Americans will afford private insurance cover. Secondly, it gives liberty to the residents to select their preferred physician, at the same cost. The French system provides healthcare to the unemployed at no additional cost. However, the Swiss system requires premium payments by everyone residing in the country. The French system provides comprehensive medical cover, extending to alternative therapies. From the stated, the French health care system is the best scheme that President Obama can adopt for the American People.

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