This is an article based on a comparative study between two health care system Taiwan and the US. The writers' main emphasis is on reduction of health cost in which he consider Taiwan Health System to be the better one as it as equally or more efficient and accurate in providing service to the people as the US but far more economical. The Taiwan's system is based on ‘Single-Payer' system where the Government is responsible for reimbursing all the health cost directly to the Health providers regardless of nature of service. The Government has provided a set format of cost and fees which it will pay to the service provider. This benefits the patient as they will receive the best quality treatment available without paying any extra cost as service providers will be competing on quantity not on quality. The author comparison is on a more economical level where in US health insurance is costly and in order to get a better treatment or service you have pay an extra cost whereas in Taiwan the cost is reduced to almost to one tenth or lesser of the US insurance cost without compromising quality. Whilst the author seems to be overwhelmed by efficiency of the Taiwan's Health Care System he has raised a few valid points which are of essence. The first is seems to be overuse of the system meaning that people are using the health system more often than they actually need. Secondly the problem of jamming which occurs due to peoples' perception of University base hospital are better than independent ones so everyone tends to prefer to go the hospitals which are based in Universities leaving the others behind so there is no equal distribution patients which results in jams. The third point is the administrative cost of the system which is too low to maintain the quality of the system. There is no investment in research and development. On the other hand in the US where the cost is too high 45 million people are still not insured just because of the high insurance cost.
The article is quiet an eye opener because when a nation like Taiwan which can manage a system like this so why cannot the US?? The effectiveness of the system is already proven as we can see the number of people left with no insurance in the US due to the high cost whilst in Taiwan most of the population is insured and allows people to enjoy a quality health care system with such low cost.
Author supports his point of view by providing statistical data and information where he indicates that in the US 45 million people are still uninsured while in Taiwan 90% of the population is covered. US spend more than 15% of its GDP on its health system while Taiwan spends only 6.5%. The maintenance cost of the entire system is 1.5% while the insurance companies cost in US is 20-30%
Comparison between the two system allow us to understand some points of the system such low cost of the insurance, available to everyone, companies compete on quantity not on quality and maintenance of the entire system.
Taking in consideration the cost of insurance, companies in the US charge a lot more than Taiwan which means people will find it more difficult to get their covered by health insurance resulting in a significant portion of the population is left uninsured. In Taiwan the cost is so low that almost everyone is covered which means an overall good, efficient and reliable health care system. Taiwan's Health Care System covers almost 90% of the population and covers medical procedures, medication, consultation and primary care etc.
Availability of health services is almost identical if we leave the cost factor behind. Health Care providers are easily accessible and efficient in both countries. In Taiwan their low cost become a bit of problem where people tend to go University based hospitals than independent ones.
Competition between Insurance Companies:
In US and Taiwan, people contribute a certain premium towards their health insurance which allows them to cover their health cost if the fall sick or need any medical procedure. In US the health insurance cost is far more expensive and the amount you pay towards your insurance policy will define what kind of services you will get. There is a definitive factor of quality that people with less money will have to suffer at some point while for the privileged it easy to survive as the cost is not a valid problem whereas in Taiwan the scenario is totally different. Taiwan's health care system is similar to Canada's ‘Single Payer' system where government is the only authority that reimburses the health costs while people pay a certain amount towards their national insurance which is Taiwan's case is very low compared to the US.
Weaknesses of the Article:
In my view this comparison is somewhat unrealistic is a certain aspect because if we consider the size of population of countries, their economy and their resources they are totally different. Taiwan is a very small country compared to the US and I think it is easier to maintain a system like Single Player in country like Taiwan where people are abusing the system and if this happens in the case US we will have far more difficult consequences.
The article is timely as it deals with problems of present times where the economic downturn has affected the most stabilised countries and establishment and it gives us a message how to cut down the cost not the quality of our health care systems.
The article is very helpful and provides a very detail understanding of both systems along with highlighting some flaws among them. In my point of view both systems have their good and negative points. For an example Taiwan's system is economical, efficient and more practical while the US health care system has invested money in research and development which have benefited in its own way. If we consider the negative aspects of the systems both systems have some drawbacks in them such as Taiwan's system is being overused and to maintain the system the government is forced to borrow money from banks while US insurance cost is too high which has led 45 million people still uninsured. In short, there is room for improvement in both systems.
The writer has summarized the whole issue in a very methodological manner which captures the reader's attention.
What we can learn from this article is how a nation like Taiwan have been able to manage a better health care system compared to US which clearly shows that even with resources and facilities we still can make a big difference its not necessarily always the bigger and more developed countries can have the better system. Taiwan's Health Care System is great example we should learn from them.