China Trumps America in Healthcare: An Explanation

The magic access to universal
I’ve been on a bit of a social policy theme recently, my previous posts have focused on government sponsorship of museums and health care, so I thought it would be apt to continue that trend.
Many of you are likely unaware that I have not only lived abroad in England for several years, but I also spent three years in China as well. Many Americans, and British as well, are unaware of what goes on within the Chinese government. Whenever I am able, I try to educate other’s about how the Chinese government functions, and how it isn’t the big bad the media frequently makes it.

Health care in China isn’t as desire as Western countries might believe. China is looked at as an unstable, impoverished nation, where citizens are neglected. However, in many cases the opposite is true. The Chinese government owns and sponsors most of the medical facilities within its country.
The Chinese healthcare is a middle ground between the British and USA system. In America, medicine is entirely private. People have private insurances that only allow its clients to be treated by doctors within their members network. Frequently, people want to see one doctor, but can’t because it isn’t on their insurance approved list. In addition, American’s also bare a large majority of the burden to pay for any medical issues. However, if treatment is needed, a person can usually be seen by a specialist within a couple weeks at most.
The opposite can be said of Britain. All healthcare is paid by the government, and citizens are free to see whichever doctor is within their zip code area. If specialist treatment is needed, that is too is paid for. The negative side to free medicine is there exists massive wait list for doctor’s appointments. I’ve been waiting three months to see a specialist.
The British ‘National Health Service’
Within China, I would argue, many citizens have greater access to healthcare than American’s (a controversial statement). People’s workplace or university usually has a medical center on site, sponsored by their employer or the government. However, unlike in England but like America, citizens do still have to pay some of their medical costs. The government sponsorship of hospitals and facilities lowers the cost overall for its citizens, making it more affordable. Likewise, to the USA, there isn’t significant wait times to be seen by a doctor or at a hospital. If you can pay the cash cost of whatever treatment you might be needing, then you get seen. My brother scheduled and receive an eye surgery in the space of a week. A struggle within the Chinese system is that if someone is unable to afford an expensive procedure, they must go without.

I do not imply that the Chinese system is the perfect balance between in England and America. I simply aim to inform my readers what the Chinese, American and British healthcare system is like, and the flaws for each. I believe that no country has a perfect healthcare or government system. But I find the wide variances between different places and different methods thought provoking. See my graph to better understand some of the similarities and differences between all three countries. 

United States of America
United Kingdom
Type of Government
Democracy with Constitutional Monarchy
Communist State
Type of healthcare
Private insurance paid for by individual
Universal healthcare funded by government
Medical institutions funded by government/employers with payment from individuals
Wait Times for Treatment
Minimum, individuals usually seen quickly
Quite long for specialized treatment
Minimum, individuals seen quickly
Not always included by insurance, significant amount of personal payment (very expensive)
Funded by government with small payments from individuals for treatment
Funded by individuals, but fairly low cost
Not always included on insurance, significant amount of personal payment (very expensive)
Funded by individual, however prices are kept low for exams, eye glasses and contacts
Funded by individual, costs are kept very low for eye glasses
Sexual Health
Paid for by individual or insurance (can be very expensive for STI checks and birth control)
Funded entirely by government
Funded and encouraged to be used by government

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