EU: Universal healthcare rules
In the EU, we take it for granted that pretty much everyone gets access to healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. Our healthcare systems are designed to provide universal coverage regardless of ability to pay and you’ll be hard pushed to find people who question that principle, even if many of us might criticise the systems themselves.
This means that on-line debate and blogging about healthcare in the EU examines specific issues such as healthcare recruitment and health technology assessment and looks at broader topics such as healthcare reform including how to make health systems more responsive to the needs of individuals (more “consumer driven”), it’s difficult to find anyone seriously suggesting dismantling universal healthcare in Europe.
Here are some examples:
- European Public Health Alliance
- Health First Europe
- Health Action International
- Stockholm network programme on health & welfare reform
- CNE Health on healthcare reform
- e-health news EU
- Medical News – Portuguese Presidency & cancer policy
- Nurses for healthcare reform
- EFN on ethical recruitment
In the recent Presidential elections in France, the country whose health system the WHO has rated as the world’s best, no-one questioned the system, although both Ségolène Royal and François Bayrou had some ideas for improving it. However, interestingly enough the web site of the winner, now President Nicolas Sarkozy barely mentions healthcare.
US: Yes or No to universal healthcare?
However, in the US things are a little different. Without going into detail, the US does not have a system of universal healthcare, but instead has a system mostly based on private insurance, with some public health coverage available through programmes like Medicare for retired people and Medicaid for low income families. The result is that around 41 million people are uninsured and many millions more have very limited health insurance.
Not surprisingly, health is a political issue in the US and the issue of the day is whether the problems with US healthcare (the uninsured, spiralling costs) could be solved by adopting a system of universal healthcare provision. This question features in many of the campaigns of the current US Presidential hopefuls, especially the Democrats and debates on the “should we shouldn’t we” question of universal healthcare are vigourously debated on-line in a myriad of fora by academics, think-tanks, civil society organisations and interested individuals.
US Presidential hopefuls and their health plans
- Chris Dodd’s healthcare plan
- Hilary Clinton’s healthcare plan
- John Edwards’s healthcare plan
- Mike Gravel’s comments on healthcare
- Dennis Kucinich’s healthcare plan
- Barack Obama’s healthcare plan
- Bill Richardson’s healthcare plan
- Joe Biden on healthcare
Joe Biden on healthcare
- Sam Brownback’s comments on healthcare
- Ron Paul on healthcare
- Mitt Romney on healthcare
- Tommy Tancredo on healthcare
- Tommy Thompson’s healthcare plan
Civil society/individual websites/blogs on US healthcare
There are hundreds, possibly thousands of websites and blogs adressing the US healthcare system, some supporting the idea of fundamentally changing the US system and moving towards universal provision, while others preferring to keep a market oriented system which they say delivers more choice to individual Americans.
Here are some interesting sites/blogs that support universal healthcare:
- Cover the uninsured
- The Right to Healthcare
- American Healthcare reform
- Healthcare for all
- Physicians for a national health program
- Mike Moore‘s attack on US healthcare in his latest film Sicko
- Universal health care action network
- Major Conflict – the French way
- The Doctor Weighs in – on healthcare reform
And some sites/blogs that criticise the idea of universal healthcare: