The USA belongs to a small number of industrialized countries which do not have universal health care system. Health insurance in the United States can be obtained by several ways. Some people get health insurance through their employers, other purchase it individually. Some part of health insurance is provided by the government. “The US Census Bureau reports that in 2003, 60.4% of the population was covered by employment-based health insurance, 26.6% was covered by government-based insurance, while 15.6% had no health insurance at all” (Uretsky, 2007).
The U.S. healthcare system has several sources of funding. Till recent past there were three main sources of funds for health care insurance. The first source was money paid by the employers. Government transferred a part of money in order to cover governmental programs. The third source of income was an individual purchase of health insurance.
Governmental programs are designed for the people with low income and those, who are older than 65. The changes in the sources of funding have occurred recently. These changes are conditioned by the switch of attitude to healthcare from the side of employers. A lot of private firms excluded healthcare insurance from the social package they provide for their employees. Other companies which provide healthcare insurance for their employees withdraw it from retirees. Such changes have gradually resulted in the shortage of employment-based plan of funding.
Publicity plans include Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s insurance program. Medicare is funded by the federal government, while Medicaid is funded by the states. All governmental programs, except Medicare, are funded by general taxes.
The United States of America has not implemented compulsory healthcare insurance, like it was done in the most of European countries. None of the proposals to implement compulsory health insurance were enacted in the U.S. At the present moment the country has a well-developed system of private health insurance. Voluntary health insurance plans give people a possibility to choose the most appropriate insurance plans. At the time when this system was implemented in some European countries, American physicians protested against this system since it would interfere within their incomes. American Medial Association (AMA) has played a significant role in rejecting any attempts to nationalize healthcare system. Their opponents insisted on the nationalized programs of healthcare and Medicare has become the first success in this field. It has become the first unified national state programs, which provides healthcare funding for elderly people. Medicare became the first success for those, who stood for the implementation of governmental-sponsored unified healthcare system. At the same time the years of private healthcare insurance have proven this system to be rather effective. It will require much time and effort in order to reconstruct this system and create a system with single payer. Most probably private corporations, which control healthcare system at the moment, will make a fierce resistance to any changes. They will loose their income if the U.S. switches to single payer system. Such a system would provide all the necessary medical aid to all citizens of the country. Canada has had a successful experience of using such a model. Universal single payer program of Medicare has also proved to be effective in the U.S. All these facts give enough reason to hope that one day the U.S. will turn to this model.