The Geordia Straight
Date: May 21st, 2015
By: Charlie Smith
In 2008, the PBS current-affairs show Frontline broadcast an intriguing documentary
about health-care systems in five capitalist countries: the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan (Republic of China), and Switzerland.
Taiwan, in particular, garnered high marks for keeping costs low while providing universal coverage through a single-payer government-insurance system. Its National Health Insurance model was adopted in 1995 borrowing best practices from other countries.
At the time of the Frontline broadcast, the average family of four paid $650 per year with copayments of 20 percent for the cost of drugs up to $6.50. Even with those low costs, there were exemptions for major diseases, the poor, veterans, and childbirth.
Eventually, the cost pressures became too much, so there were revisions introduced in 2011 to bring more money into the system.
In advance of this week’s World Health Assemby taking place in Geneva, Taiwan’s health and welfare minister, Chiang Been-Huang, wrote an article highlighting the current system. [FULL STORY]