Single Payer Healthcare is a system which insures a national population’s health care costs by legally compelling taxpayers to pay a “Health Insurance Tax”. This insurance system ensures every citizen can afford medical costs, so people can get medical help easier. Citizens who pay into the National Health Insurance System (NHI) get a Healthcare ID card, with which you can get discounts if you present it when visiting the doctor or a hospital. Taiwan’s system is unique in the world; other countries should consider implementing similar programs to guarantee people’s health care rights.
Advantages of NHI In Taiwan
With Single Payer Healthcare, people suffering from economic problems won’t have to undertake high medical care costs. NHI attaches citizens’ insurance premiums to their economic conditions. For example, those with higher earnings pay a higher insurance premium, and those who pay a lower insurance premium have lower earnings. In certain conditions, the poor don’t have to pay for insurance, which means they can receive medical help for free.
In addition to ensuring the rights of the underprivileged , NHI pays for your health examination fees. Every year or two for different age ranges, people have different kinds of free health examinations they can do. For example, every year people over 65 years old get a free full body examination and women over 30 years old get a pap smear exam. Every two years people over 30 years old who chew betel nut or who smoke get an oral mucosa check; people form 50-74 years old get fecal and blood screens. These are just a few of the health examinations provided for citizens with NHI.
Last but not least, NHI prevents people from getting into debt because of large healthcare costs. Before NHI was implemented, most leukemia patients normally had to pay $2.56 million NTD each year, which is an extreme amount of money. NHI helps those patients by paying 10% of their medical expenses every year. The 10% may seem like a small amount of money, but people are now willing to be hospitalized. Although NHI spends 27% of its money on sick people with serious diseases every year, those patients have the willpower to stay alive, and it makes sense for people to help them out with their huge expenditure.
Why Other Countries Should Have NHI
According to the Brookings Institute, the National Health Expenditure (NHE) as percent of GDP in Taiwan was 6.6%, compared to the U.S.’s 16.2%. Taiwan’s health care system was almost three times smaller than the American system. If this doesn’t seem effective enough, average medical costs in America in 2012 was $9,596 per person, but in Taiwan it was only $1,388. Taiwanese people spend nine times less on medical costs because of NHI. People often argue that having NHI is a waste of money, however, thanks to NHI few Taiwanese people have to spend large amounts of money on medical costs.
In countries without NHI, poor people often chose to die on the streets rather than go to a doctor. Even if they try to search for medical help, no one will help them because they don’t have the ability to afford the huge costs. In Taiwan, you can easily see the poor in hospitals or clinics; they don’t have to worry about payments because society is collectively paying. Everyone has the right to obtain medical service, and people’s economic status should not limit this right.
NHI’s main purpose is to have citizens pay insurance every month. When people go to doctors, we normally only have to pay 200 NTD, compared to other countries such as the U.S., where the payment is many times more. NHI takes care of all citizens and every country should have it.