Welcome to Universal Health cares
strap yourself in and prepare to take a breath of fresh air...
Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, it’s almost impossible to not have already heard about the heated debates going on in America about universal health care.
Both sides of the argument has been going on a full blitz attack ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law just a few years ago, but the rhetoric is certainly heating up as of late because the first early initiatives are about to “kick in”.
If you’ve been wondering what the real details about health care are – especially universal health care – then you’re going to want to pay close attention to this quick and easy to read guide.
Universal healthcare - trick or treat?
In recent months, the Dutch Healthcare system has received much attention both nationally and internationally having being ranked first when compared with six other nations – United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA and Germany. Indeed, some Irish politicians have presented it as a model we should aspire to. This attention has escalated with the new Government proposing that our current two-tiered system will evolve into a one-tiered, universal healthcare system over a five-year period using the Dutch model as a template. Universal healthcare is a single-tiered health system characterised by a mandatory universal health insurance (UHI), equity of access to health care services determined by need rather than money, risk equalisation, chronic disease management in the community and a system of hospital funding whereby money follows the patient”.
According to the new programme for government, insurance with a public or private provider will be compulsory by 2016 with payments related to ability to pay and not by gender/age/health status. This risk equalisation ensures that health insurers are unable to refuse any applicant. The Government will pay premiums for people on low income and subsidise those on middle incomes. UHI entitles people to a free package of GP and hospital care. Insurers will be obliged to provide the same basic package for all but may also have the option of providing supplementary packages. These supplementary packages will not be able to provide faster access to procedures already provided in the basic package. The cost of this has yet to be decided, with the Dutch currently spending more per capita on health than Ireland. In the Netherlands, the health service is funded by income related contributions, with premiums paid by the insured and exchequer contributions.