The Collective Action Problem Of National Health

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The Collective Action Problem Of National Health Care Essay, Research Paper When societies come together to form governing organizations the goal is to provide a means to deal with public goods. The most basic of these being stability and security for it?s masses, but as a nation grows it?s governing body?s obligation does as well. As the nation?s responsibilities grow the problem of collective action a rises. In this paper health care will be the public good in focus, and how the United States, Canada, and Germany each deal with the disbursement of this public good. A critique of each will be done with three approaches to the collective action problem as the guide. These three outlooks are Thomas Hobbes? Leviathan, the anarchistic solution, and the entrepreneurial solution.

These will help us review each of the three chosen nations’ methods of distributing health care to its citizens and which one works the best. The first country that we will look at is Germany. Germany has a strong tradition of state funded health care for it?s citizens. The health care system of Germany was established 115 years ago on the heels of the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Having the oldest state run health care program, the German system has changed through out the years, yet has been able to adapt to the times. The German system covers 90% of the population, with the other 10% choosing private forms of health care (Tutuncu p.1). This system covers unlimited ambulatory physician care including home visits, unlimited hospital care with minor copayments,

maternity care, prescription of drugs with unlimited copayments, medical supplies and devices, preventive care, family planning, rehabilitative services, and periodic ?rest cures? at certified health spas. The German plan also includes dental care including routine preventive care, restorative care, periodontal services, dentures and other prostheses and orthodontia, optical services (including glasses), and ambulance transport (Tutuncu p.2). With this type of coverage the German health system has been labeled one of the best in the world. The German approach to the need of health care for its’ citizens is a form of the entrepreneurial solution. The German health care program has grown and improved over time because of political entrepreneurs that understand the importance of

health care. Without the political entrepreneur catering to the public?s need, public good would not be served. This method of dealing with the need for health care has proven to be very successful and has greatly improved the living standards of the German people. The next country that we will look at is Canada. Our neighbors to the north have an interesting system in that is a mixture of private and public distribution to form its? health care program. Private hospitals, physicians, and other institutions mainly carry out the services provided in Canadian health care. There are a few health services that are state operated, but the trend in Canada has been to privatize these as well. The state plays a bigger role in funding of these services rather than providing them. State

funding for these private health care services comes from income taxes, sales taxes, ?sin? taxes, employer levies, health premiums, and property taxes (CNFH p.1). The Canadian government traditionally funds 75% of all health care expenditures yet recently this number has began to decline due to the increase in private payments (CNFH p.1). Canada?s health care programs and funding fall under the entrepreneurial solution format. The Canadian system is in a transition between two types of entrepreneurs, political and private. This transition from the political entrepreneur to the private one could result in a potential disparity in quality of health care for citizens of Canada. The reason for this would be that political entrepreneurs court the public for support, there for