There are many philosophies shaping healthcare services around the world, and this article glances at some prominent examples. This may help understand why different countries experience healthcare differently.
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Healthcare in the USA
The USA does not have a universal, free healthcare program, unlike most other developed countries. Instead, in line with the free-market-virtue mindset, most Americans are served by a mix of publicly and privately funded programs and healthcare systems.
Most hospitals and clinics are privately owned, with about 60% being non-profits, and another fifth being for-profit facilities. Coverage by federal and state programs is partial, and most insured Americans have employment-based private insurance.
Group plans funded by the employer cover about 150 million Americans.
These include health maintenance organizations (HMOs), which are networks of providers. Insured patients see a primary care physician (PCP), whose refers them to a specialist if necessary.
A more popular option is to use preferred provider organizations (PPOs), which allow patients to see external providers, choose their PCPs, and see a specialist without a PCP referral provided the former is willing.
These are now used by over 55% of insured employees, compared to 25% in HMOs or point-of-service (POS) plans.
With POS plans, patients must have a PCP in the provider network, but can go out of the network for a…