Although the US health system serves 4 per cent of the world's population, a quarter of the cases and a fifth of the deaths from COVID-19 occurred here. Costa Rica also has a successful health system, under a single-payer model that combines social security with medical services provided by the Ministry of Health. In the United States, the out-of-pocket system is the only one available to the 28 million Americans who do not have health insurance. The management of any health system is usually directed through a set of policies and plans adopted by the government, private sector companies and other groups in areas such as personal health care delivery and financing, pharmaceuticals, health human resources and public health.
A health system consists of all organisations, people and actions whose primary purpose is to promote, restore or maintain health. Appropriate investment in information technology and research and development is key to making health systems more accessible and improving health outcomes. Only developed and industrialised countries, perhaps 40 of the world's 200 countries, have established health care systems. The National Health Service in the UK offers free healthcare for all and a longer life expectancy than in the US, at half the cost.
Universal free healthcare is seen as good for the country, both from a health and economic point of view. Sound information is playing an increasingly decisive role in the delivery of modern healthcare and in the efficiency of healthcare systems. In the Bismarckian model, the insurance system or "sickness funds" is financed jointly by employees and employers through payroll deductions. This is the Canadian system, where the government is not involved in the provision of care and does not collect any health information on individuals, but is responsible for 70 per cent of all health spending.
China spends about 6.6 per cent of its GDP on healthcare, with 28 per cent funded by central and local governments, 28 per cent out-of-pocket and 44 per cent by public or private insurance and social health grants. At first glance, Bismarck's system resembles that of the US, as health care is provided through insurance companies that are paid for through payroll deductions for employers and employees. Even in developed countries with well-funded health systems, hospitals have been overwhelmed. Keep up to date with developments in the healthcare sector, Vera updates, in-depth resources and interviews with Vera providers.