Comparison of Spain Essay

Submitted By sallymae1984
Words: 1019
Pages: 5

Comparison of Spain’s and the United States Healthcare Systems

June 17, 2013

Defining the term Universal in relation to Healthcare on December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25 states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services.” (Excerpts from The International Bill of Rights, United Nations). This is the basic definition of universal health care which was adopted by many countries. There are many models for universal health care. The common denominator for all universal health care programs is that they require some form of government involvement. As a government it must be decided what type of care is provided, who receives the care and the determination for the basis of coverage. To cover the cost of the universal plan the nation’s population either has compulsory insurances, taxes, or possibly the combination of both. There could also be the breakout of what is covered and what is not, meaning the patient may directly pay for some procedures. The United States signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but did not ratify the social and economic sections of the declaration that covered health care. In as such, health care in the United States is a business and all businesses are to be managed for profit. Private healthcare insurance is paid for by the individual, or can be a shared cost thru an employer and a group of people. In some rare instances the insurance premium is paid for completely and entirely by the employer. Private health care insurance still has the negotiated areas of how much the insurance company will cover and how much they will charge you for single coverage or for added members of the family. Premiums will vary according to the risk that the insurance company is covering. Spain has guaranteed healthcare for its population of 47,042,984 citizens (Spain People 2012, CIA World Factbook) written into its constitution. There are no out of pocket expenses for its citizens aside from prescription drugs. In comparison the United States, population of 314,905,960 (December 10, 2012, U.S. & World Population Clocks) has many options for healthcare coverage. Consumers may choose to purchase health insurance from any private insurance company. There is also the group plans that are employer sponsored thru their workplace. In addition there are the federally subsidized programs that are in place for the elderly and low income persons. Even with all these options there are millions of Americans that are uninsured. The only mandated care at this time is through the Emergency Department of a hospital. Basically if you are sick or injured and show up at the Emergency Room they cannot turn you away. Many factors need to be considered when looking at the costly expense of healthcare for a country. You have to consider the age breakouts for the population. How many of the citizens are working and paying taxes? What makes up the main diet for the country? Does the population as a whole lead an active healthy lifestyle? Is tobacco use considered acceptable in the country? Is preventable care education assessable to all citizens regardless of their economic status? These are all areas of “cost” when you look at a total “bill” for healthcare. With the United States population at over 300 million and Spain’s at over 46 million the breakout for working adults is crucial in the factors that pay for or subsidize healthcare cost for its citizens. The CIA World Factbook was used to find the age structure for both countries. Spain’s working are group, 15-64 years is 67.7% with an unemployment rate as of December 2012 of 25%. The United States working are group, 15-64 years is 66.8% with an unemployment rate of 7.7%. Unemployment rates make a big difference in the amount of revenue the country takes in as taxes. If you have less