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The United States is very different from Norway when it comes to the structure of its health care system. Norway’s health care structure went through a radical change in 2002 when a hospital reform occurred that had the government take over the responsibility of running the entire hospital system throughout the country. As a result, the state funds almost all expenses that the patient endures. This reform also secured health care as the network couldn’t go bankrupt since the government owned all health companies. This principle ensured that all legal residents would have equal access regardless of socioeconomic status. Furthermore, by having the government accountable for health care costs, 9.4 percent of the country’s GDP went to health spending in 2010.
Unlike Norway, the United States does not have a uniform health system, with no universal health care coverage. Instead, their system is considered “hybrid” where 48 percent of health care spending came from private funds, 28 percent from households and 20 percent coming from private businesses. Thus, the majority of the healthcare is financed privately. Consequently, because of the inconsistent and mismanaged costs, the United States spent 16.9 percent of GDP, which is almost twice that of Norway’s. To pour salt on the wounds, while Norway’s entire system ensures legal residents, the United States had 33 million uninsured residents in 2014 (this accounts for 10% of the countries population). If the United States took more of a universal healthcare approach, prices of services would become standardized to reduce costs compared to the ambiguity of a private market. We need to transform the model from one that is government-led to one that is market-led.
In what areas do their health exceed that of the US? Norway surpasses the United States in several categories when it pertains to health. Overall, Norway has an obesity rate that is four times lower than that of the United States. This statistic plays a vital role in life expectancy where Norway ranks 17 marks higher over the United States. High-quality health care in Norway isn’t just acquainted with a system that provides coverage to all its legal residents, but also a number of available physicians to the public. Granted that while most hospitals are government owned in Norway, there are also private one available to the public. In Norway, sub-national governments play a vital role when collected taxes to fund health services. There is national funding that provides compensations for regions with either high needs or low means. However, when it comes to approval of drugs, negotiating with providers, and levels of patient contribution are all set by the national government.
Both countries have their patient’s contribute from their own pockets to the cost of health care; but it’s Norway that significantly outweighs the United States by having only an annual deductible of $246 for their residents compared to the large variety offered by the private market which has a monthly premium on top of the annual deductible. When it pertains to cost-related barriers to accessing health care the United States had 37% of its people experience some type of barrier due to costs compared to the 10% that people in Norway faced. This is thanks to the fair mix of single-payer national insurance and well-structured co-payments that doesn’t cause any distortion in their private market.
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