Friday, September 7, 2007

Is The Secret To Family Health Insurance Public Funding?

Despite its many problems, the United Kingdom's National Health Insurance system is the envy of the world and many people believe that it provides the model on which future healthcare in the United States should be based. Whether or not you subscribe to this view, a look at healthcare in the United States today makes one wonder if public funding is not perhaps the answer here.

It is often said that the United Kingdom's publicly funded National Health Service (NHS) which was introduced in 1948 is the envy of the world. The NHS provides by far and away the majority of healthcare for all elements of society within the UK and covers everything from basic healthcare services provided by a network of local family doctors through to a full accident and emergency and hospital service. In addition, it provides for a whole range of other care services including care for the elderly and mentally ill and even provides dental care.

By comparison the United States federal government currently assists the elderly with some aspects of their medical care through the Medicare program and also provides assistance for low income groups through a series of jointly funded state Medicaid programs which are administered at state level. Both of these programs however cover only a proportion of the population of the United States and with the steadily growing number of elderly citizens and Medicare costs rising at about 7% every year this program in particular may not even be sustainable let alone expandable.

Today approximately 85% of the US population carries some form of health insurance, much of which is provided by employers and various government agencies, but this leaves nearly 50 million Americans without any form of health insurance, with those living in the western and southern US more likely to be uninsured than elsewhere.

Perhaps most surprisingly of all for what many regard rightly or wrongly as the world's richest nation, the United States is ranked well below the average of developed nations for its healthcare performance by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Only time will reveal the direction in which healthcare is headed in the United States but the health of its population is clearly fundamental to the growth and prosperity of the nation and, sooner or later, Congress is going to have to bite the bullet and accept that a total overhaul of the nation's health system is going to be necessary and that will almost certainly mean adopting a publicly funded healthcare system at the end of the day.

Even if this does eventually happen it is going to be years away and it is not going to help the average citizen when it comes to finding suitable health insurance today. So, in the meantime, it is a case of making the best of the system we have and sifting through the myriad of choices available to find the solution that best meets the needs of individual families.

The internet provides the ideal vehicle for finding information on suitable family health insurance and, in particular, for sourcing low cost health insurance

By Donald Saunders
Published: 11/18/2006

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