Hello again! We apologize for a lag in our next blog post as we were busy taking care of the nuts and bolts of the AppointmentNotify Platform in anticipation of launching it in the near future.

In this post, we would like to share some insights as to how complex the U.S. Healthcare system is compared to the system in Japan. Our aim is not to assume we are comparing apples to apples since in reality there are reasonable differences between the two countries including their healthcare systems. However, there are some similarities that could enlighten all of us to see what has been contributing in Japan to better health outcomes. To begin with, let’s be clear on one thing: according to a 2017 report by npr, the United States spends the most on health care per person in the world — $9,237! A similar figure of an old 2015 report shown below puts that hefty number at $9,451!

U.S. Healthcare System: The Most Expensive in the World!
statista.com: Health Spending Per Capita

Health Care Just Became the U.S.’s Largest Employer

Let us first throw out some good news in case you missed it. As of Q4, 2017, for the first time in history, health care has surpassed manufacturing and retail, the most significant job engines of the 20th century, to become the largest source of jobs in the U.S. In 2017, health care surpassed the number of workers in both manufacturing as well as in retail! The aging U.S. population is considered a contributing factor as are the subsidies offered by the U.S. Government to private insurance in several ways, including through a tax break for employers that sponsor health care. You can read all about it in detail here if you wish.

Single-Payer vs Multi-Payer Health Care System

For those who want to learn or refresh the basics, here is an excellent article from The Washington Post on the basics of a Single-Payer and a Multi-Payer System with some useful statistics that compare the U.S. Healthcare System Expenditure with that of other Developed nations:

PERCENT OF HEALTH-CARE EXPENSES  PAID BY PRIVATE SECTOR
PERCENT OF HEALTH-CARE EXPENSES PAID BY PRIVATE SECTOR

The U.S. Healthcare System is the least pure single payer system among the countries shown above because the government itself offers the least comprehensive care, requiring the need for complementary or supplementary insurances funded mainly through employers and the private insurances.

The Japanese Health Care System

Like U.S., Japan also relies heavily on Employer-Sponsored Healthcare System. However, as explained in this article, the national health outcomes are drastically different. The Japanese Healthcare System is considered high-performing across the developed world despite less than half ($4,150) healthcare spending per capita! Japan also ranks #1 in infant mortality while the U.S. ranks at the bottom! The median age of Japanese is 10 years older than Americans. Virtually no Japanese goes bankrupt due to medical fees whereas, on average, more than $600, 000 Americans go bankrupt yearly because of unpaid medical bills! The article cites the healthy lifestyle and differences in culture as some of the reasons that could lead to less strain (and consequently less expenditures) on the healthcare system in Japan. However, it also points out some setbacks related to the overall quality of care, longer appointment wait times, and reduced incentives for innovation to change the healthcare system. All that for a healthcare system which apparently works for the Japanese population.

Our Pick: The U.S. vs the Japanese Health Care System

The intent of information cited in this post is only to point out some factual differences between the Healthcare Systems of two Developed Nations pegging them on the similarity that both utilize employee-sponsored healthcare programs without siding with anyone in particular. Both systems have their positives as well as negatives and both are more or less open to innovation and changes to deliver better health outcomes for masses. Perhaps both Americans and Japanese can share and learn from each other’s experiences to deliver an optimal healthcare delivery system which balances the needs of all stakeholders in a more meaningful way.

We leave it to you, the reader, to make use of the information curated in this post. Please share it with the people you care about if you do like it.

Have a great week ahead!

From the Team @AppointmentNotify

Post feature image courtesy of npr.

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