Universal Health Care
Universal health care refers to any system where the citizens of a nation are provided with access to the health care system and financial protection. There are 58 nations across the globe with some form of universal health care. The United States is not one of those nations. These systems are not all the same, and many are a combination of public and private insurance, with the goal of improving the health outcomes of the entire nation.
New Zealand was the first nation to introduce a system of universal health care, which it did between 1939 and 1941. The United Kingdom introduced its National Health Service in 1948. By the 1980s, all of Western Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia had some form of universal health care.
For the most part, universal health care systems are funded through general taxation, but many other nations have the option of private insurance to provide for services beyond the national system. A compulsory insurance system requires citizens to purchase insurance, often provided by the government. Canada has this type of universal health care, and aspects of America’s ACA are model after this. In a single-payer system, such as the UK, the government pays for all health care costs.
Universal health care systems vary according to the level of government involvement. However, they all share the goal of improving the general health outcomes of the entire nation. The United States, without universal health care, spends more per capita on health expenditures than any other nation.