Understanding the German Health Care System and Medical Education
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The United States is the only technologically advanced, industrialized country that fails to provide all of its citizenry with health care coverage.1 In 2010, an estimated 16.3% of Americans (approximately 50 million people) did not possess health insurance.2 This lack of universal coverage is stark compared to the situation in Germany where all members of society have some form of effective health insurance and where the costs of providing health care are significantly lower than in the United States (as expressed as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, GDP).3 I conducted an analysis of the German health care system (known as the "Bismarck Model") in order to evaluate the impact an organized health care system that provides universal coverage to all members of society has on the general population as well as on medical professionals (health care providers). I developed and collected a survey of individuals in the Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg region concerning their health insurance status and satisfaction with their health care institutions. I also obtained personal experiences at the University of Tübingen Medical School, where I spent a semester as a student, and at the Lochmann-Klinik in Esslingen and the Medizinisches Versorgungszentrum Kirchheim in Kirchheim unter Tech where I shadowed physicians and observed the daily functioning of the clinic. I received an 8.36% response rate (264 out of 3,157 distributed surveys) and based on my results, patients under the German system of health care demonstrated a high level of satisfaction with their health insurance system and costs. Practically all respondents (99.01%) expressed satisfaction with their health care providers. An expected 100% of the surveyed population possessed health insurance. Along with the well-functioning health care system, German medical universities also rank among the top in the world. Yet unlike in the United States, quality of education is not directly proportional with its cost. Tuition fees traditionally do not exceed $670 per semester, a fraction of the estimated $50,000 per year most public medical universities charge in the United States. The Bismarck system in Germany proved to be less costly and provided a much higher level of coverage than the current health care system in the United States. So why is America still a conglomeration of mismatched health insurance plans rather than a system of universal coverage?
Subjectuniversal health care
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Hasenbalg, Maytee 1991- (2012). Understanding the German Health Care System and Medical Education. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from