The beautiful country of Belgium has a universal health care system that has been mandated since 1955. Belgium is known in the European Union (EU) to have a well-developed economy that features an astounding rich market within Europe and even in the world Belgium’s prestige location offers many trading advantages which creates a multilingual, productive workforce and high exports per capita and a hefty list of imports as well (Globial talks business, 2011). Belgium is home to approximately 10.7 million people which is noted to be small compared to other nations that have a similar economy. But the country has managed to be doing quite well for itself by maintaining a modern and private-enterprise based economy with a strong commercial and industrial network (Dimireva, Ina, 2012).
With all the positives, Belgium has experienced many downfalls. Belgium boasts an open economy that is service-oriented, but is filled with governmental debt. In 2009, Belgium’s public debt was 99% of their 2009 debt. The Belgian market is also is projected not to grow due to low birth rates due to citizens only choosing to have one child and low immigration rates. There is also a continuous conflict between the French and Dutch communities due to the economic and cultural differences which divides parts of the country and postpones reform of the country to create a better economy overall. In Belgium, the universal health care system is ran by a parliamentary form of government divided into three levels: federal, regional (three regions and three communities), and local (provinces and municipalities). The background of the health insurance framework for Belgium is traced back to the late 19th century when workers created their own mutual benefits societies to assist with unemployment, incapacity to work and disabilities, and to receive assistance to protect against risk of prevalent diseases. The societies were organized by private organizations without any state or federal subsidies. Later, the State joined the efforts of the societies to contribute to the sickness funds. Then, finally Belgium’s creation of the Health Insurance Act of 9 August 1963 which was the officially revision of all previous universal health insurance plans. The decision of the Belgian government to change to a universal health care system came after World War II. The change was implemented due to the need to “create a compulsory public health insurance system based on independent medical practice, free choice of health care providers to be chosen by the patients, fee-for-service payment of providers and for reimbursement purposes” which is all included under extended coverage within the Health Insurance Act of 9 August 1963 (Corens, Dirk, 2007). 2. Compare the common features of that health care model to the health care system of the U.S.
Belgium’s health care system has minimal similarities to the United States’ current mixed health care system. Just like many health care facilities in the United States, Belgium also maintains the principle that health care should be distributed on the basis of need and not the willingness or ability to pay for services. Both countries also pride themselves in focusing on the quality of health care being provided to their populations. Belgium and the United States strive to increase the quality of health care while finding ways to set cost-containment on financial resources, increase patient safety, and provide better definitions and emphasis on what risks and benefits are in relation to health care. Within both countries, certain accreditation standards for health care institutions, accreditation of care providers, peer reviews, periodic audits, and planned and unplanned visitations are governed and regulated by the government. 3. Compare the differences between the