AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to analyze the journal article Comparative Studies of Health Care Systems: Taiwan and the United States of America- Past, Present, and Future by Zalatimo (2014), and draw connections between his inferences and sociological concepts. It will also look at how the systems he has researched relate to the healthcare system of Canada. Finally, it will draw conclusions as to what Canada could do to improve our system for the better, especially in the light of senior citizens and their unique needs.
Journal Article Summary (Part 1)
In the article, Zalatimo compares the differences between the Taiwanese healthcare system and the American healthcare system (Zalatimo, 2014). He begins by giving a comparison of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) percent spent by each country on healthcare. Surprisingly, Taiwan spent only 6.9% while the United States spent 17.6%; Canada trailed behind at just below 12% (Zalatimo, 2014). At first, these numbers may seem sensible seeing as the United States has a population 13x greater than Taiwan. However, per capita it works out to be $7146 for the US and $1126 for Taiwan (Zalatimo, 2014). This is an astounding feat when the amount and quality of services provided for that price is taken into consideration. In Taiwan, 99% of the population is insured, prescription drugs are covered, there is allowances for dental services, inpatient and outpatient care, palliative care, and much more. Perhaps one of the most comparable factors to Canada is their low wait times to see specialists and for elective procedures. In Canada, it has been highly criticized the long wait times of up to see specialists and long wait times for treatment after having seen a specialist (Novak, Campbell, & Northcott, 2014, p165). In Taiwan, it is common to see a specialist or at the very least a doctor on the same day or within a few days (Zalatimo, 2014). This would be very beneficial to seniors needing hip or knee replacements. It could also save many lives from cancer, and save lots of dollars spent on pharmaceutics to manage pain while awaiting treatment. The purpose of this article was to look at what Taiwan has done well, what could be done better, and how to apply this to the United States. Although this paper was aimed at the United States, many of Taiwan’s successes could also be integrated into Canada’s current healthcare system.
Journal Article Critical Analysis (Part 2)
Point of View/ Sociological Theory
The author is mainly concerned with the government involvement and the economics behind Taiwan’s healthcare system, he is looking at the macro-level. He seems to be biased towards a more supportive system than the one in the United States, suggesting he’s unhappy with their current system of privatization. This paper relates to the Marx-influenced political economy theory. This theory believes that social policy is directly related to which groups are dominant in a given society (Novak, Campbell, Northcott, 2014, p30). In the United States, the dominant groups are very conservative and do not wish to provide for their people without a profit margin. In Taiwan, the culture is different, people are more involved and take care of one another. This is reflected in their elected government and their resulting healthcare system. The Taiwanese perspective most closely resembles that of a moral economy theory; they all share the value that healthcare is a basic human right. In Canada, we are are neither end of the spectrum but somewhere in the middle. While the Canadian government is not nearly as conservative as the United States, its healthcare system is nowhere close to being as reformed as that of Taiwan.
The scientific evidence provided in this paper is solely statistics and numbers. There is also some non-scientific evidence posed as anecdotes and inferences. He uses quantitative methods to draw conclusions from data collected in previous studies by multiple authors. There is not any use of qualitative methods as the author is not interested in the individual level but more in the macro-level and looking at the bigger picture as a whole.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The research method used in the journal article could have been better. Instead of just looking at the macro level, it would have been a better rounded study had the micro level been considered as well. It also could have been improved had more countries been involved to compare. Albeit the author was American and only concerned with the United States but, it would have been nice to have a middle alternative instead of just the two extreme opposite systems. A common underlying assumption throughout this paper is the assumption that Taiwan’s system is superior to the United States. Within this assumption is the assumption that healthcare should be free/accessable to all residents of the United States. There are many who disagree with this -just ask the insurance company CEOs. Having said all that, a strength in the article was the clarity of the numbers provided. It really showed the contrast between the United States and Taiwan well.
Personal Standpoint on the Issue
It was very interesting to me to see the comparison between the United States and Taiwan. I had never thought of Taiwan as a developed country, to be honest I did not know much about Taiwan other than sometimes the name is on the label of my clothes saying ‘made in.’ I certainly agree that the United States has many issues when it comes to their healthcare system. I feel that healthcare is a basic human right, no one should have to be in pain or in a situation where they have to debate if they can afford to get help. I found the documentary Sicko (2007) directed by Michael Moore to be eye opening as well. It did a better job of showing more countries so there was more to compare. But, based on just the journal article, I agree with the author that the Taiwanese system is superior to that of the United States and of Canada. Canada has a long way to go when it comes to what is covered and the long wait times.
Social Issues/Trends (Part 3)
A recent news article published by CBC (2018, June 1) reports on a new initiative out of the Hamilton paramedics department and McMaster University. They are attempting to reduce 911 calls made by seniors in the community. They are doing this by having paramedics do non-emergent house calls once a week to assess seniors. The news article reports a significant drop in 911 calls and they believe it is related to their program. Visits allow seniors to have vital signs taken and offer an opportunity to ask any questions they may have. This alleviates worry of seniors and prevents unnecessary emergency room visits. It is great especially for seniors as they seem to have more complicated health issues and provides an outlet to be monitored. It would be nice to see this program expanded to be more prevalent in communities with older populations. This practice could not only help to reduce wait times in emergency departments but also could reduce the cost associated with calling 911. This best relates to the age stratification theory and life course perspective. It does this by focusing on following seniors into old age and supporting them as best can in each stage of life.
References’My doctor thinks it’s super’: Paramedic house call program cuts down on ER visits. (2018, June 1). Retrieved June 6, 2018, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/paramedics-community-hamilton-program-1.4683269Novak, M., Campbell, L., & Northcott, H. (2014). Aging and Society: Canadian Perspectives. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education Ltd.
Zalatimo, O. (2014). Comparative Studies of Health Care Systems: Taiwan and the United States of America- Past, Present, and Future. Proceedings For The Northeast Region Decision Sciences Institute (NEDSI), 530-551.