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HEALTHCARE POLICIES: US AND SPAIN HAVE A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW ON THE MATTER

Comparing the United States and Spain’s healthcare systems, it is clear that the respective policies are taking different positions. While the U.S. is trying to make healthcare coverage more affordable for citizens, Spain has adopted strict financial measures in order to cut the health expenditure. Both policies submit citizens to negative long-term consequences.

The American health care reform law (Affordable Care Act- ACA), better known as Obamacare, was enacted in March 2010. This law allows consumers a easier access to health coverage and protects them from companies’ abusive insurance practices. Obamacare is far from the idea of a “National Health System” as that which exists in several European countries.

Despite that, the ACA has represented a huge legislative change in the U.S.  because it aspires to increase the number of people covered by an insurance plan.

It is important to underline that about 50 million people in the U.S. are uninsured, even though the government spends almost 20% of its GDP on health, which is more than twice the GDP on health expenditure in any European country. That is why conservatives believe that ACA system is economically unsustainable.

Even if the Obamacare plan requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, Republicans argue that insured patients will be stuck in an extremely expensive system, due to the fact that healthy and young people won’t massively sign up.

Considering the European situation, health systems used to be one of the main issues of national policies. However, because of the financial crisis and austerity measures set up in many countries, budgets for health services have been decreased. For instance, Spanish administration heavily reduced  the budget for health and social services and introduced a new law shifting health coverage from universal to employment-based in April 2012.

These facts entail that numerous illegal immigrants will have access only to emergency, maternity and pediatric care.  This situation would not be new for American citizens, but these changes affect an important matter of Spain’s social stability and have been imposed abruptly, without knowing the long-term consequences.

 

The gLAWcal Team

Friday, May 16, 2014

(Source: The German Marshall Fund of the United States)

This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.