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Two Health Care Systems Australia And United States Economics Essay

In Australia, there are private and government institutions that provide healthcare to the countrys population referred to as Medicare. The system aims at ensuring free access to health care. According to Peabody and Bickel (1996), the national subsidy scheme makes sure of the provision of prescribed medicine at a subsidized cost. The system also offers services to the health professional at a subsidized rate and in some instances, the access free services depending on their circumstances. Medicare offers services to all Australians residents.

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The general revenue, which is also the progressive income tax, funds the system and the incomes of the residents pay a certain amount of money to take care of the medical services as stated by Wilson and Breusch, (2004). There are private healthcare insurances, which operate for profit, while others are non-profit making.

There are benefits covered by the Medicare in hospital services and out of hospital services. Residents admitted at the public care hospitals do not pay for the treatment and care received in the hospital. They are also entitled to receive treatment from the doctors and specialists from these hospitals. Public patients also do not pay for the after care treatment if it is done by the doctor who had been treating them. The Medicare system does not cover certain costs such as accommodation and theatre fees.

Below is data that will compare and contrast the cost, the access and the quality of healthcare in Australia with the United States.


Table one. Comparison of cost of health care in Australia and in the United States


Data for the US

Data for Australia

% of GDP spent on Health in 2007



Total expenditure per capita



Public expenditure per capita



% of health cost paid by the government



% Government revenue spent on Health



Table two. Comparison of access of health care in the Australia and in the Unite States


Data for the US

Data for Australia

Units of scanners that is available per one million people. Access to Scanners in health care



% of the people who say that they did not access the needed care in the past year



% of people who say that it is difficult to see a consultant or a specialist



% of the people who say that they had problems paying medical bills in the past year



Physicians per a 1000 people



Table three. Comparison of quality of healthcare in Australia and in the United States


Data for the US

Data for Australia

Life expectancy



Survival rates of childhood Leukemia, ages 0-15 years



Infant mortality rate



Survival rate of breast cancer patients



The rate at which measles is avoided



The United States is the most expensive country in terms of providing healthcare as Darling (2010) points out. Moreover, the high costs do not reflect the results leaving patients and physicians unsatisfied unlike in Australia where a greater percentage of the people perceive the system as satisfactory with regard to costs. The United States does not have universal health insurance coverage, in contrast to Australia. Residents in the United States spend more out of their pockets when compared to Australians.

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Health care spending consumes more of the per capita total expenditure in United States than in Australia as illustrated by Table 1. The United States has had the highest per capita spending in healthcare as compared to other countries. Per capital spending on the healthcare systems of a country depends on the income of the country and the percentage that a country is willing to spend on health care. In the United States, the income of the people has been increasing, leading to a direct increase in expenditure on the healthcare system. Advances in technology have also contributed to the high spending on the health care system in the United States. The other contributing factor in the high growth in the health care system spending is the rise in the prices and the changes experienced in insurance coverage. Some countries have low per capita spending because of lack of resources to spend on healthcare services. The total income of the country spent in the United States by the health sector is larger when compared to the other countries. Australia spends almost half of the per capita on healthcare services when compared to the United States, contributed by the difference in population and disparities in incomes of residents in Australia.

Also in table 1, health care spending in the GDP in 2007 in the United States was about 15.7 percent and currently the GDP is about 16 percent and the trend seems likely to continue. In the same year, the GDP in Australia was about 8.5, which is low, when compared to the United States. The GDP in the United States has been rising and it is expected to rise further by 2017. The difference of about 8 percent between the United States and Australia rises because the health insurance cost of the United States are rising more than inflation and wages. United States spends a large amount of its GDP on insurance costs, which as a result affects GDP of health care system in the country. Another part of the GDP goes to administrative costs and the high labour in the country causing the GDP of the country spent on health care to rise.

The number of residents in the United States having the perception that the state has denied them access to health care services is many, when compared to Australia, as illustrated in Table 2. This scenario seems perplexing despite the expensive healthcare system and the large amount of money used by the United States government in healthcare. As Chernichovsky and Leibowitz (2010) suggest, there is lack of an integrated system in the United States to use in the promotion of healthcare. This inefficiency causes a number of the country’s population not to get access to the required healthcare as expected. The implementation of a universal insurance would act to increase the efficiency of healthcare in the country. According to Ang (2010), the accessibility of the healthcare systems in Australia has increased over United States and the main reason being that the Australian government contributes a higher percentage of public funding to health care services than the United States.

The survival rates of breast cancer patients as illustrated in table 3 are high in the United States by 7, as compared to the survival rate of the same patients in Australia. Survival rates can be one of the indicators of quality health in a country. These measure the ratio of population that survives cancer to the country’s population and of the same age who would have been alive if they did not have cancer. The cancer survival rate is supposed to be high in every country and it measures the quality of health care services in the country. The difference observed between Australia and the United States may be due to the difference in the medical care of the two countries. The other difference would arise because of the difference in the attitudes of the patients who are taking the treatment. Another reason that could cause the deviation is the difference in finances that both countries are willing to spend on the cancer patients. The similarity between the two countries is that both of them have survival rates of breast cancer patients above a hundred.

In the same table, the quality of the health care system can be measured by the rate at which diseases can be avoided if good care is given. There is a difference in the rate at which measles can be avoided between the United States and Australia. The difference can be experienced because of the control measures that are put in place by different countries. The rate at which the country is willing to deal with the disease can also cause the difference in the avoidable cases. The awareness of consequences of the disease and that it could cause avoidable deaths, also brings the difference in which the country deals with the disease. The difference between the Unite States and the Australia is not big and that shows that there is a similarity in the efforts in avoiding measles.


In comparing the two countries, both of them need to learn some things from one another. Australia is not perfect in healthcare issues and the United States is not perfect in all the things. It is evident that the United States spends more on health care services than Australia. Nonetheless, the percentage of government revenue spent by Australia is higher than that of United States. Most people in Australia access medical care than the people in United States. Many people are satisfied in Australia by the health care system than in United States. It all boils down to a country creating a system that should not necessary be perfect, but one that gives its residents utmost satisfaction.


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