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Comparison of Healthcare System in the United States and Australia

Info: 3663 words (15 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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The World Health Organization supposes that different countries have hospitals, community health agencies as well as clinics that vary in terms of organization and services delivery. These are just a few of the renowned healthcare systems that are mandated to offer quality and universal health coverage to patients. At the same time, health systems should also protect patients against financial risks incurred while accessing care. The following essay will begin by illustrating the structure of health care systems in both the United States and Australia breaking down in terms of efficiency-equity and access. The final section will contrast the knowledge in health care system amongst the United States and Australia. While addressing the most significant aspects in both countries the evidence will also incorporate the pros and cons of the systems from the two countries. Finally, the paper will draw a significant conclusion from the available literature an as well decide on the most feasible system.



Towards the onset of the 21st century access to healthcare was considered as a matter of pursuant to fundamental human rights by the United Nations besides other countries that had faced serious crises as a result of co-occurring diseases (Schneider et al., 2017)  Different countries have diverse healthcare systems in terms of organization, finance, and delivery of healthcare services. In the process of delivering equitable, quality and efficient health care services; healthcare system need recognize and attend to the patient’s requirements (Squires& Anderson, 2015). While critically evaluating various literatures; this essay seeks to contrast the healthcare systems in terms of access, equity and efficiency between the United States and Australia.

Health Care System in the United States


The health care system in the United States is oriented towards self-provision. The system is structured in such a way that the Americans are largely responsible for their independent costs incurred while accessing health care services. It is also worth noting that this due to the ongoing struggle to push the delivery of services towards the private sector (Squires& Anderson, 2015).  Typically the healthcare system in the U.S. encompass aspects such as access to services, resources invested as well as expenditures in the process of enhancing the healthcare of the country’s population in the most convenient manner. Through availing more employment opportunities; private funding can help meet personal healthcare.

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Likewise, back in 1965, the federal government introduced a to fund and support care for the elderly and the poorly financed by the state governments (Bauchner, 2017). Unlike the other populations who had access to good salaries and could afford to meet their personal care costs; the national government implemented a program to subsidize the cost of care of the vulnerable population. The health care system tends to cover care successively from both ends of the society; though studies suppose that nearly 47 million people in the United States who are uninsured have no choice but to pay for their entire medical expenses (Shi & Singh, 2014).  Lack of a healthcare insurance seems somehow expensive in the due course of medical care.


Health care equity in the U.S is a theme of much debate. There are various opinions and views regarding the equality in access to care in various state healthcare facilities. The diverse notions are bound within the context of societal values (Bauchner, 2017). The American health system fails to consider the need of the majority to avail equitable care for all the citizens. Equity seems to be a story of the past; brought by the ideology of the same Americans. The philosophy resides within the relation to independence while at the same time being associated with the monetary success (Shi & Singh, 2014).  As the association amid employment and health insurance proves the assumption that Americans feel that access to health care is a personal responsibility

Moreover, despite the government’s effort to avail universal and affordable healthcare to the entire Americans through programs such as Medicaid and Medicare; majority of the high earning and middle-income employees argue that individuals need to struggle for good jobs to place themselves at a better position of accessing quality health insurance and health care respectively (Bauchner, 2017).  The American system, on the other hand, promotes the aspects of self-resilience due to the contravening concepts of the society at large. The ideology, on the contrary, does not promise the universal access to care especially for those in great need.


Service delivery in the American healthcare system is no doubt of high quality (Squires& Anderson, 2015). Besides the resources deployed in the delivery of health care services are viable and available in vast variants. Perhaps this is the major benefit resulting from the strongly privatized health care system in the United States. According to Schneider (2017) theses among other integral aspects of efficiency are greatly acknowledged by the majority of the Americans. As previously noted by Bauchner (2017) creating an efficient model of care is exactly what the American health care system displays both in the allocation of funds and deployment of resources such as health care practitioners, availability of drugs, diagnosis, and treatment equipment.

Shi and Singh (2014) emphasizes that the U.S is the current the biggest spender in matters concerning the availability and affordability of healthcare. The funds set aside for healthcare in the budget according to The World Health Organization are behind improving the health care operations in the struggle towards achieving a better health care. It is promising noting that the excess spending comes with good fruits in return. Despite the hardships in accessing care; the few who are privileged are guaranteed of efficient care. However, lump sum spending according to Mathur, Srivastava, and Mehta (2015) analysis is way below the calculated expected benefits.

Healthcare System in Australia


The Australian health care system is a bit unique from that in other developed countries such that it is designed to embrace two fundamental contributors to funding both the private and the public health care sector (Duckett & Willcox, 2015).  Private organizations are involved in ensuring the Australians health care at an affordable incurred cost while the revenue collected from taxation by the national government is pumped in the health care sector to meet the care costs of the public in general. The government assumes the responsibility of making sure that the Australians get access to quality universal care at front that Schneider et al., (2017) describes as adequate and reliable need accomplishment. In Australia, health care is a priority, therefore, being among the national goals of improving the lives of Australians.

On the same note, the adequacy in services provided to fully meet the citizens’ needs as well touches on hospital visits and the authorized healthcare providers operations. Health care facilities value life more than money; as a result, the government is esteemed to offer what could be close to free care to its citizens (Duckett & Willcox, 2015). Unlike for the private sector; health care for the public sector which has the largest number of clients is subsidized. As these approaches are necessarily favorable in authenticating the healthcare system in Australia; the extent to which the Australians use healthcare systems makes the privately acquired insurance even more available. In the process, it is easier to adequately fund several other care needs.


Equity in the Australian healthcare system is of superior ideological value (Duckett & Willcox, 2015). The adequate care policies allow all the Australians access to sufficient health care regardless of their jobs, income, ethnicity or even social class. The society is somehow fair in that life is more valued than any other thing. The levels of care provision in Australia can as well be compared to other developed countries such as the United Kingdom. The national government alongside other non-governmental agencies offers support to the public sector rather than the private sector (Schneider et al., 2017).  However, in recent years, the government has actively advocated for the incorporation of private health care so as to counter the current difficulties in system efficiency.


The Australian health care system classifies the efficiency of care in four broad categories which include; availability of resources, delivery services, stewardship and finally financing mechanisms. The country has one of the best service delivery mechanisms in that the system has a low waiting list and avails quality in terms of resources. Duckett and Willcox (2015) stress that for services to be efficient; a health care system needs to provide diverse resources and at the same time establish the need for appropriate funds allocation targeting to meet the needs of the patients. This is exactly a true definition of the Australian health care system.

Besides, Australia has a health care setting that recognizes and appreciates the views of society. It is an important aspect towards perfecting on stewardship. Again as it mentioned earlier the current Australian government seeks to promote the privatization of care so as to facilitate a rapid improvement in efficiency (Duckett & Willcox, 2015). Efficiency is a key to delivery improvement and critically supports the health care system in facilitating quality and authentic care in Australia. As a result of accepting public values and confining stewardship to using both private and public avenues of funding; service delivery is bound to improve.

Comparisons of Healthcare System in the United States and Australia

In a study involving eleven different international healthcare frameworks; researchers have ranked Australia healthcare system best as compared to that in the United States. Just a recapture from the study; the highest performers in terms of access, equity, care process, administrative efficiency, and health outcomes include Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, UK And Lastly Norway (Ridic, Gleason & Ridic, 2012).  It is equally important to note that despite the United States being ranked the last overall; the country had the highest record in mortality while Australia was ranked eight for equality globally. On the same not it was aw well ranked the second best internationally having the top mixed public-private system.

Figure 1: showing the global health care performance score; Retrieved from the New York-based Commonwealth Fund Website

Comparing Australian health care system to that found in the united states; it is absolutely clear that the U.S is a poor performer in population health outcomes for instance life expectancy and infant mortality (Ridic, Gleason & Ridic, 2012). This is a clear indication that the health care system in America is unstable and unreliable. Life expectancy in Australia is at 75 years unlike 60 years in the U.S. In the past decade the U.S has experienced a high rate in mortality amenable to health care which at the same time has resulted to a diminutive reduction in the measure. Mathur, Srivastava, and Mehta, (2015) therefore conclude that excessive spending is not a guarantee for quality and efficiency.

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Additionally, despite the high standard of healthcare quality in the United States; the insurance costs, complexity, and access difficulties limit the provision of care to most of the Americans (Mathur Srivastava, Mehta, 2015). Unlike in Australia where health is a public concern; in the United States the system relies on individuals responsibility to seek and advocate for care unguided Ridic, Gleason and Ridic, (2012) claims that there are co-occurring gaps within the patient care continuity aspect. The literature further supposes that if the United States does not intend to create care more affordable and universal there are fears that the disparity amid the insured and uninsured individuals will tremendously increase.

Studies by Duckett and Willcox, (2015) agree that the American health care system share some similarity aspects with the Australian system in terms of the mixed market structure. The similarity is evident due to the presence of both the private and public sectors that support the implementation of the systems through allocating funds that meet the costs of care delivery (Mossialos, et al., 2016). Although the similarity in the design of the market is a building effort towards marginalizing care there are vast disparities within the structure settings of both the countries (Ridic, Gleason & Ridic, 2012).   Unlike for the American system, the philosophy behind the orientation of the Australian system is that all the Australians need to have equal rights to social and health care.

An analysis amid several studies alludes that access to care plays a vital role in the effectiveness of the system. The failure within the American system is conjoined to its perception regarding the public healthcare system (Mathur Srivastava, Mehta, 2015).  The Australian system considers both the public and private care systems as equally important. Perhaps that is the obvious reasons its healthcare system was previously mentioned among the best. It is excellent in terms of effectiveness as it is able to meet the health care needs of the Australians despite their income, class, ethnicity or even race. The American system fails to acknowledge and attend to those individuals in the low class as they cannot afford health insurance premiums.

An in-depth evaluation of the systems in both countries proves that access to care is achievable to the majority of the Australians than the Americans. However, the indigenous population might be disadvantaged because of their extreme socioeconomic background (Duckett & Willcox, 2015). The American government spends a lot in health care however the efforts seem un-noticed as only the rich can afford to access care while the poor languish in abject disparity. Therefore considering the arguments availed by several researchers; it is evident that the Australian health care system values ethics and professionalism more than the revenues anticipated (Bourke et al., 2012).


American health care system

The United States government spends huge amounts of money on healthcare so as to see health facilities having the best quality of resources to avail affordable care to the Americans. The country currently has the best resources in terms of equipment human resources as well as facilities to meet quality care needs which are facilitated by the Medicaid schemes (Mathur Srivastava, Mehta, 2015).  In addition, the Americans under good insurance schemes have access to advanced medical care besides the privileged also have few cases of waiting lists for major medical procedures. The physicians in the United States are among the best trained in the world. As a result of the specialty and comprehensive training; the system perfectly handles rare conditions so its residents do not actually need to seek care in other foreign countries.

The Australian health care system

The Australian health care system is a bit unique such that it is designed to embrace two fundamental contributors to funding both the private and the public health care sector (Duckett & Willcox, 2015). This makes it easy for the system to cater needs of the Australians on a balanced scale. Besides, Australia has a health care setting that recognizes and appreciates the views of society. It is an important aspect towards perfecting on stewardship and attaining the other health care agendas more easily. Lastly, equity in the Australian healthcare system is of superior ideological value (Duckett & Willcox, 2015). The adequate care policies allow all the Australians access to sufficient health care regardless of their jobs, income, ethnicity or even social class.


American health care system

Despite having the best resources in terms of health care providers, diagnosis and treatment equipment as well as comprehensive facilities; the healthcare system in the united states undermines the care needs of the under-insured and the uninsured citizens. The system favors only the rich and the socially recognizable (Mathur Srivastava, Mehta, 2015).  There is a lack of care equity and efficiency. Besides access to quality care is limited to those with good jobs; in any case, an individual gets unemployed the privilege gets terminated. Besides, the system is among the most expensive in the world making it difficult for most of the American to access. This as well makes the system inefficient since there is less emphasis on preventive and primary care in relation to acute and interventional care management.

The Australian health care system

The benefits of the Australian health scare system surpass its challenges; however, the challenges play an important role in finding lasting solutions to challenges (Hall, 2015).  One of the major challenges affecting the system is the increasing costs of medical advances to ensure that the system is at par with the rapidly advancing technology. Despite the need to ensure that care is comprehensive, transparent and efficient; the rising costs make care access to most of the Australians a challenge (Duckett & Willcox, 2015).  There are also challenges with the general healthcare supply and distribution. The issue has also increased the uncertainty in the struggle to balance the private and public sectors while providing funds to meet health care needs.


In a nutshell, different studies done by different researchers prove that Australia has the best healthcare system when compared to that in the United States (Duckett & Willcox, 2015).  Through a keen observation of a few aspects conjoined in healthcare such as access, health care outcomes, equity, finance as well as efficiency; the Australian society is certainly at the top. Perhaps this could be the reason the countries system was mentioned among the best in developed countries globally (Ridic, Gleason & Ridic, 2012).  Despite the huge budgets allocated for healthcare annually; the downfall of the United States system is caused by the frequently increasing numbers of infant mortality and the decrease in life expectancy.


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