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It is worth noting that there is no universal model of the healthcare system that will apply to all countries. The level of centralization, regulation, distribution of costs, as well as the role of private insurance in covering healthcare services, vary greatly in different countries. The purpose of this paper is to compare the Latin American and the US healthcare systems on the example of two hospitals.
The first chosen institution is Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, which is one of the best-equipped institutions in Brazil (Global Health Intelligence, 2018). The second organization is Mayo Clinic Hospital, which is the top-rated healthcare institution in the US (U.S. News & World Report, 2019). The hospitals will be compared in terms of available specializations, the number of licensed beds, and universal coverage. It is curious to find differences between these two institutions since they are considered the best healthcare hospitals in the respective countries.
The first institution offers the following adult specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, endocrinology, gastroenterology, gynecology, orthopedics, psychiatry, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, and dermatology. The second chosen hospital has 16 available adult specialties, which are cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, ear, nose and throat, gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, psychiatry, pulmonology and lung surgery, rehabilitation, rheumatology, urology, and ophthalmology (Mayo Clinic, 2019).
Both organizations have departments of pediatrics and emergency departments. In terms of the number of beds, the hospital in São Paulo has 1,185 available beds, and the clinic in the US – 1,265 (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Therefore, the American institution can accept a significantly greater number of patients.
Importantly, the healthcare system and coverage, in particular, are implemented differently. In the hospital in São Paulo, patients receive services that may be covered by either public or private system. All country residents are eligible for the Single Health System (SUS) notwithstanding their age or economic background (Muzaka, 2017). This means that all patients receive equal access to the healthcare system and can get preventive or therapeutic care using SUS (Muzaka, 2017).
Individuals may also cover the services of the hospital through private health insurance paid by their employer. As for the hospital in the US, the coverage system is drastically different. Patients older than 65 are covered by Medicare, and individuals on low income receive care under Medicaid. Importantly, minors whose parents are not eligible for Medicaid are covered by the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Military veterans also receive services covered by the government, so they do not need to qualify for either Medicare, Medicaid, or any other type of insurance. As for the private system, citizens who are not eligible for the programs noted above should have employer-sponsored insurance.
Thus, it can be concluded that the comparison of the two institutions has revealed both similarities and differences in the healthcare systems of Brazil and the USA. The two countries offer advanced services and technologies to patients to address their health-related needs; meanwhile, the differences lie in the ideology. The US healthcare system aims at a capitalist perspective while Latin America strives for decentralization and universal coverage so that all patients have equal access to the services notwithstanding their age or socio-economic background.
Doing this project, I have learned that even though countries face similar problems in terms of health care, they approach these issues in different ways. As applied to Brazil and the US, it is reflected in the ideologies they employ (that is, in their capitalist and social perspectives). The approaches they have chosen have a direct impact on access to healthcare and affect all aspects of care including costs, quality, equity, governance, and so on.
Global Health Intelligence. (2018). The best-equipped hospitals in Brazil 2018. Web.
Mayo Clinic. (2019). Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys campus. Web.
Muzaka, V. (2017). Lessons from Brazil: On the difficulties of building a universal health care system. Journal of Global Health, 7(1), 1-5.
U.S. News & World Report. (2019). Mayo Clinic rankings & ratings. Web.