US Healthcare vs. The World: How Does Our System Stack Up?

There’s no point in burying the lede. The United States has one of the worst (if not the worst) healthcare systems out there. We pay the most and get the least in our health outcomes. Study after study has confirmed that compared to health systems around the world, we come in last. There, I’ve said it.

The Basics

To start, let’s review the type of health care system we have here in the United States. In the U.S., we don’t have a single nationwide health care system. Instead, we have the option to purchase health insurance through the private marketplace, or to be provided coverage by the government based on income qualifications.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance was employer-sponsored due to the history behind employment benefits outside of wage increases and associated cost savings. However, thanks to the federal exchanges, individuals can now purchase insurance independent of an employer, either from for-profit or non-profit insurers.

The large majority of health insurance plans offered in the U.S. fall under the categorization of managed care organizations, or MCOs. MCOs are systems designed to deliver appropriate health services to covered individuals through the pre-arranged curation of contracted providers. The two types of MCOs are health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs).

Individuals under MCOs are incentivized to receive care from providers within their specific plan’s designated network. This is why you sometimes can only go see the doctor at the opposite end of your city – womp, womp.

Of course, we do have tax-funded healthcare as well – we just don’t call it that. Read on to find out more…

zimmytws / Shutterstock.com
zimmytws / Shutterstock.com
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