A Comparative Analysis of the Health System Financing in Poland and Selected Countries

By Jaworzynska, Magdalena | Economics & Sociology, July 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

A Comparative Analysis of the Health System Financing in Poland and Selected Countries


Jaworzynska, Magdalena, Economics & Sociology


Introduction

Healthcare is a very important and, at the same time, difficult element of each state's policy. For many countries, the issue of financing the healthcare system is a delicate matter and one of the basic economic and social issues. Nevertheless, decisions concerning the sources and principles of healthcare financing influence the quality of the entire system (Hady and Lesniowska, 2013, p. 1).

The development of medical technologies, as well as the introduction of new generations of drugs, cause that currently there are opportunities of effectively treating cases which until recently were beyond doctors' reach. Another problem which is connected with the functioning of systems of health care is ageing population observed practically in all developed countries as well as new challenges connected with it. These circumstances cause that maintaining domestic systems of health services is generating higher and higher costs (Kujawska, 2015, p. 113).

Every health system is aimed at satisfying the specific health needs of the population.

Health systems can be described using models of service delivery, financing, and economic policy. Much of the literature depicts health delivery systems in terms of a national health system, social insurance or private insurance model. Within each model, there are various forms of financing including general taxation, specific taxation, and private financing (Kulesher, Forrestal, 2014, p. 127).

The cost of delivering health care imposes a large, and often growing, burden in nearly all countries. Increasingly, health care decision-makers are being asked to improve performance by containing expenditures while maintaining steady improvements in access and quality (Anell and Willis, 2000, p. 770).

This article presents a comparative analysis of the health system financing in Poland and selected countries: The Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, USA. Analysis will cover the period from 2011 to 2013. Data deriving from the OECD Health Data database were used.

1.Characteristics of Foreign Health Systems

Traditional models of health systems are treated as benchmarks describing the desired and ideal shape of the system. They represent a collection of potentially possible solutions from which one can choose those best suited in specific conditions. There are three health systems defined in literature:

- model of national health service, also known as the Beveridge model,

- social insurance system, the so-called Bismarck model,

- the system of non-regulated insurance market, the so-called residual model.

Britain's National Helath Service (NHS) came into existence on 5 July 1948. It was the first health system in any western society to offer free medical care to the entire population. It was, furthermore, the first comprehensive system to be based not on the insurance principle, with entitlement following contributions, but on the national provision of services available to everyone (Fincham, 2011, p. 27).

The Bismarck model of health care structure, financing, and delivery is named in honor of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who unified Germany in the 19th century the system incorporates "sickness funds" which are jointly financed by employers and employees via payroll deductions. In this instance, the Bismarc model represent what is available to employees via employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. The major difference in the German system is that the "sickness funds" companies are not profit-generating entities. These "sickness fund" companies do not make o profit (Fincham, 2011, p. 29).

A model of private health insurance in which access to benefits is conditioned on having a private insurance policy. Monies allotted to financing the benefits derive from private insurance premiums, health service manufacturers are private entities (Lyszczarz, 2014, p. 92).

The European Union Member States and the United States built their health systems on the basis of these models. …

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