Healthcare Utilization and Finance – UK vs USA

The health care system of every country is representative of the welfare of the people living in it. A proper healthcare system symbolizes stress-free living standards where the people do not have to consistently worry about medical costs. The regulations and policies put in place in regards to healthcare support a healthy environment for the people and create ground on awareness on issues of healthcare (Lloyd, Braithwaite and Southon, 1999). Each country has their basis of coming up with the rules and the regulations that they have. Each state comes up with their rules depending on the current issues at the time. Since two societies can never be equal at the same time, there are likely to be some differences in what is considered the most important in each society.

The prevailing conditions in the UK and the US are very different, and their international standards towards the healthcare industry differ significantly. According to the World Health Organization, the terms of healthcare in the UK are far better than those in the United States. The countries were measured on different parameters and declared that the United Kingdom is way above the United States when it comes to healthcare (Elliott, Hatton and   Emerson, 2003). According to Who, the United Kingdom has better arrangements when dealing with issues arising in health care. The healthcare industry in the United Kingdom mostly works on the National Health Service (NHS) model. According to this model, all the citizens have the right to access health care. The entire model of the healthcare industry is based on the NHS model only. The NHS forms and regulates all the operations regarding health services. This type of central authority gives the government more power in regulating the industry (Reid, 2010). Every activity that takes place in the healthcare industry is implemented in a very organized and well-structured manner.

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The NHS system allows for continuous advancement of any technology aspects coupled with the increase incompetent staff as well as improving the infrastructure of the industry. The government of the UK gives a broad range of facilities to its users and concentrates on providing the best healthcare services to its users. The government is the sole financier of the NHS in the UK. The guidelines of the hospitals are guided by the National Health Service Act of 1946. Professionals in the healthcare industry are highly trained based on the recommendations by the NHS. Patients can access services of nurses and specialists through a telephone call. Therefore, the health department in the United Kingdom is very attentive to the needs of the people and understands their responsibility in steadily improving the needs of the citizens.

The healthcare system in the United States, on the other hand, concentrates on improving the health standards of the citizens in the country. The government does not play a huge role in the healthcare industry, and private health companies work to gain control of the industry (Leatherman and Sutherland, 2005). The entrepreneurial structure in the country mostly operates the industry as the government does not take the responsibility of providing health services. All the same, health facilities in the country are highly advanced, and technology is much more advanced when compared to those of the United Kingdom. The health hierarchy in the United States is very extensive, and various departments offer various services to the patients (Lloyd, Braithwaite and Southon, 1999).  Due to the high levels of privatization of the health industry in the country, the country experiences a high degree of expenditure in the per capita income. The government representative in the healthcare industry is the department of health and human services which control the activities of different sub-agencies.

There are three main categories in the United States healthcare industry. There is primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care. The healthcare industry in the United States is much complex when compared to that in the United Kingdom. Private medical insurance companies play a huge role in the healthcare system in the country (Elliott, Hatton and   Emerson, 2003).In the United Kingdom, all the members of the society including the unemployed, retired and children have access to healthcare. The system does not discriminate based on any of these factors.  The unemployed in the Great Britain are entitled to a job-seeker allowance and can still access health care as long as they are actively looking for work. However, in the United States, most of the unemployed citizens are usually uninsured meaning that they have less access to medical care. There is Medicaid that caters for people with very low incomes. The unemployed in the United States are often advised to take up Medicaid although their access to healthcare may be limited. Healthcare in the United States is mostly tied to insurance. The working people in the United States pay partially while the employer pays for the majority of the fee. This means that if a person is unemployed, they may not be able to access medical care due to the high costs involved. Retirees in the United States are eligible for Medicaid once they reach the age of 65. However, they may be required to make some payments, and for some, the previous employer may be making the payments. Children in the United States are eligible for Medicaid even if their parents are not insured. However, children from uninsured families may experience more barriers to health care as compared to children from insured parents.

In both the Great Britain and the United States, patients are required to pay a copayment with the insurance company and NHS. In the Great Britain, the patient receives medication but is required to pay a standard fee for prescription drugs where the drugs have been prescribed by a physician. The aged, disabled and pregnant women may be exempted from this fee. Patients who require medication for a long time for chronic illnesses may only pay a one-off prescription fee. In the United States, there is Medicare prescription drug coverage where patients are required to pay extra amounts monthly s that they can access prescription drugs free. Where the patient has full coverage, no extra payments are needed. For a patient to be referred to a specialist in the Great Britain, they must request from their general practitioner, and if the GP feels that there is the need, then he can refer the patient to the specialist. The process is almost similar to that of the United States where the patient requires a referral letter from the general practitioner to the experts. This is for the insurance companies to ensure that patients are seeing the appropriate specialists for their medical issues.

In the United Kingdom, there is complete coverage for any pre-existing conditions as long as it was revealed when enrolling into the system. The healthcare system in the United Kingdom is extremely cost effective and helps the consumers save a lot. From the year 2014, the law of the United States protected citizens from being denied covers due to a pre-existing condition. This means that they will still receive coverage whether they have a pre-existing condition or not.Patients in the United Kingdom can save more and invest more since they do not spend a lot of money for health delivery. The NHS covers the cost of their medical needs, and since the government as control of the system, it is very stable. In the United States, however, there is increasing the cost of healthcare. Insurance companies are always increasing payments hence the patient is forced to dig deeper into their pockets. The patients are affected negatively in terms f finances. Healthcare may even be unaffordable for most people soon.

In conclusion, it can be assumed that there is the need for the government to regulate the healthcare industry. Medical care is one of the most basic needs of the citizens. The government of the UK has taken initiative in ensuring that all the residents are well taken care of medically. The government of the United Kingdom ensures that all medical objectives in the country are achieved and accomplished. The United States on the hand has made medical care expenses for citizens due to highly privatizing the industry. The government, however, has strict policies to protect citizens from any fraudulent activities and ensure that they get proper medical services. In the UK, all the sections of the population are catered for, and medical care is reasonable.

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