Which Country Has the World’s Best Health Care? | Ezekiel J. Emanuel

Summary of: Which Country Has the World’s Best Health Care?
By: Ezekiel J. Emanuel


Embark on an enlightening journey into the complexities of global healthcare systems, as we traverse through Professor Ezekiel J. Emanuel’s insightful book, ‘Which Country Has the World’s Best Health Care?’. Offering data-driven comparisons and specific examples, this book gives us a deep dive into varying medical practices and the challenges different nations encounter. From the highs of the German and Dutch systems to the fractured US healthcare landscape, we’ll discover a gamut of practices, philosophies, and complexities that paint a picture of the current state of global healthcare.

Health Care Systems Worldwide

Professor Ezekiel Emanuel, a renowned bioethicist, challenges the notion of the world’s best health care system in his book. Instead, he analyses and compares health care systems around the world using data analytics and specific examples. Germany and the Netherlands are portrayed as having abundance, quality and value in their systems. Meanwhile, the US and China are ranked at the bottom due to their expense, unevenness, and for-profit shenanigans and bare-bones approach, respectively. The author concludes that no country has the best health care system, but many excel in different areas, making them worth emulating.

The Illusion of Top-Notch US Healthcare

Despite perceptions of top-notch American healthcare, the US system is failing, spending $3.5 trillion in 2017, accounting for 18% of GDP. With underperforming coverage, quality, and cost, there are only 2.6 practicing doctors and 12.5 nurses per 1,000 people, compared to the EU’s averages. The US healthcare system is broken, even though it spends almost twice the per-person average among OECD nations on healthcare. Americans are not receiving good value for their heavily invested money.

Canada’s Healthcare System: Metrics and Perception

Conservative Americans perceive Canada’s healthcare system as inefficient and socialist due to long wait times. However, using consistent metrics, the author shows that Canada spends 11.3% of GDP on healthcare with 2.7 hospital beds and 2.4 physicians per 1,000 people.

The Pros and Cons of the NHS

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has been delivering free healthcare to its citizens for over 70 years. In his book, Emanuel admires this aspect of the NHS. However, he cautions that the UK spends only 9.6% of its GDP on healthcare, which is below the EU average. The UK also falls short in terms of the number of doctors, hospital beds, and nurses per 1,000 people compared to other countries like the United States, Germany, France, Norway, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Despite its advantages, the NHS still has room for improvement and investment in the future.

The Norwegian Healthcare System

Norway’s healthcare system is funded through taxes, without any access barriers, and covers health, pension, unemployment, disability, and other needs. Despite spending nearly double of what the UK spends, only 10.4% of GDP is used. However, physicians have little incentive to save money or offer quality care.

Healthcare in France

Emanuel discovers the French healthcare system allows patients to choose any doctor or hospital and access specialists without referral. With 11.5% of GDP spent on healthcare, France boasts high numbers of hospital beds, doctors, and nurses per 1,000 of the population. However, the system is criticized for paternalism favoring doctors and disrespecting nurses.

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