Comparison of two health care systems

Comparison of two health care systems 

Australia and United States


In Australia, there are private and government institutions that provide healthcare to Australians. The public health care system in Australia is called Medicare. The aim of Medicare system is to ensure that there is free access to treatment. The people who visit the public hospitals access the treatment freely. According to Peabody and Bickel, (1996), the National subsidy scheme makes sure that the prescribed medicine in the pharmacies is provided at a subsidized cost. The system also offers services to health professionals at a subsidized rate and sometimes they receive free services depending on the circumstances. Medicare offers services to all Australians residents.

The Medicare system is funded by the general revenue which is also the progressive income tax. The incomes of the residents are also levied to take care of the medical services as stated by Wilson and Breusch, (2004). There are private healthcare insurances which operate for profit and there are others that are non-profit making.

There are benefits that are covered by the Medicare in hospital services and out of hospital services. The people who are admitted at public care hospitals do not pay for the treatment and the care given to them in the hospital. They are entitled to receive treatment from the doctors and the specialist from the hospital. The public patients also do not pay for the after care treatment if it is done by the doctor who had been treating them. The Medicare system does not cover other costs like accommodation and the theatre fee.

The data below is used to compare and contrast the cost, the access and the quality of healthcare in Australia and with the United States.


Table one. Comparison of cost of health care in Australia and in the United States

 Measures Data for the US Data for Australia
  1.   % of GDP spent on Health in 2007
15.7 8.5
  1. Total        expenditure per capita


  1. Public        expenditure per capita
15.7 8.7
  1.  % of health cost paid by the government
45.4 67.7
  1. %        Government revenue spent on Health
18.5 17.7



Table two. Comparison of access of health care in Australia and in the United States

Measures Data for the US Data for Australia
  1.   Units of scanners that is   available per one million people. Access to Scanners in health care
26.9 20.8
  1.    % of the people who say that they did not   access  the needed care in the past   year
14 8
  1.   % of people who say that it is   difficult to see a consultant or a specialist
40 35
  1.    % of the people who say that they had   problems paying medical bills in the past year
18 10
  1.   Physicians per a 1000 people
2.4 2.8


Table three. Comparison of quality of healthcare in Australia and in the United States

Measures Data for the US Data for Australia
  1.   Life expectancy
78.1 81.4
  1.   Survival rates of childhood   Leukemia, ages 0-15 years
110 100
  1.   Infant mortality rate
6.7 4.2
  1.   Survival rate of breast cancer   patients
114 107
  1.   The rate at which measles is   avoided
199 187



The United States is the most expensive country in the healthcare systems as Darling, (2010), puts it. The high costs do not reflect the results and patients and physicians are not satisfied unlike in Australia where a greater percentage of the people are satisfied with the costs.  United States does not have universal health insurance coverage but Australia has. The people in United States spend more out of their pockets than the people in Australia.

Health care spending consumes more of the per capita total expenditure in United States than in Australia as illustrated by Table 1. The United States has had the highest per capita spending on health care as compared to other countries.  Per capital spending on health care systems of a country depends on the income of the country and the much the country is willing to spend on health care. In the United States the incomes of the people has been raising leading to high expenditure on the healthcare system. Advancing in technology has also contributed to the high spending of the health care system in the United States.  The other contribution of the high growth in the health care system spending is the rising of the prices and the changes that has been experienced in the insurance coverage. Some countries have low per capita spending because of lack of the resources to spend on the healthcare services. The total income of the country that is spent in the United States by the health sector is big and not like other countries. Australia spends almost half of the per capita in the healthcare services when compared to the United States. This can be contributed by the difference in population and also the difference in the incomes of the people in Australia.

Also in table 1, health care spending in the GDP of 2007 in the United States was about 15.7 percent and currently the GDP is about 16 percent and is expected to continue with the same trend. In the same year, the GDP in Australia was about 8.5 which seems low compared to the GDP of the United States. The GDP in the United States has been rising and it is expected to rise further by 2017. The difference of about 8 percent between the United States and Australia rises because the health insurance cost of the United States are rising more than the inflation and the wages. United States spend a large amount of its GDP in the insurance cost which as a result affects GDP of the health care system in the country. Another part of the GDP is spent on the administrative cost and the high labour in the country causing the GDP of the country spent on health care to rise.

The people in United States that say that they had denied access to the health care services are many compared to Australia as illustrated in Table 2. This happens despite the expensive healthcare and the much money that is used in the United States healthcare. As Chernichovsky and Leibowitz, (2010), suggests, there is lack of integrated system in the United States to be used in the promotion of healthcare. The inefficiency causes a number of populations not to get access to the required health care as expected. The implementation of the universal insurance would help in efficiency of the health care.  According to Ang, (2010), the accessibility of the health care systems in Australia has increased over United States the main reason being that the Australian government contributes higher public funding to health care services than the United States.

The survival rates of breast cancer patients as illustrated by table 3 are high in the United States by 7 as compared to the survival rate of the same in Australia. Survival rate can be one of the indicators of quality health in a country.  This measures the ratio of people who survive cancer to the people of the country and of the same age who would have been alive if they did not have cancer.  The cancer survival rate is supposed to be high in every country and it measures the quality of health care services in the country. The difference that is seen and experienced between Australia and the United States may have been caused by the difference in the medical care of the two countries. The other difference would arise because of the difference in the attitudes of the patients who are taking the treatment. Another reason that could cause the difference is the difference in the finances that both countries are willing to spend on the cancer patients. The similarities between the two countries is that both of them have survival rates of the breast cancer patients that in above a hundred.

In the same table, the quality of health care system can be measured by the rate at which diseases can be avoided if good care is given. There is a difference in the rate at which measles can be avoided between the United States and Australia. The difference can be experienced because of the control measures that are put in place by different countries. The rate at which the country is willing to deal with the disease can also cause the difference in the avoidable cases. The awareness of the consequences of the disease and that it could cause deaths that can be avoided also brings the difference in which the countries deal with the disease. The difference between the United States and Australia is not big and that shows that there is a similarity in the efforts of avoiding measles.


Australia is a good comparison of the United States. In comparison of the two countries, both of them need to learn some things from the other. Australia is not perfect in the healthcare issues and the United States is also not perfect in all things. It can be concluded that the United States spends more on the health care services than Australia, but the percentage of the government revenue that is spent by Australia is higher than in United States. Most people in Australia access medical care than the people in United States. Many people are satisfied in Australia by the health care system than in United States.




Ang. J. B., (2010), The determinants of health care expenditure in Australia.  Academic Journal. Vol. 17 Issue 7, p639-644, 6p

Chernichovsky.  D. and Leibowitz.  A. A, (2010), Integrating Public Health and Personal Care in a Reformed US Health Care System. Academic Journal. Vol. 100 Issue 2, p205-211; , 7p,

Darling. H., (2010), US health care costs: The crushing burden. Academic Journal. Vol. 8 Issue 1-4, p87-104, 18p

Peabody. J.W. and Bickel. S. R., (1996), The Australian health care system.  Academic Journal. Vol. 276 Issue 24, p1944, 7p

Wilson. S. and Breusch. T. (2004), After the tax revolt: Why Medicare matters more to middle Australia than lower taxes. Academic journal.  Vol. 39 Issue 2, p99-116, 18p











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