In the mid 1990’s there was a massive debate on the future of health insurance. Would the people benefit from a univeral health insurance system provided by the federal government.
Some people fell on the side of promoting free market economics and allowing private insurers to engage in capitalism and drive the costs down. Others believed it was integral to the future of the nation to establish healthcare as a human right by providing a universal health system to every citizen.
Over twenty years later, the nation is happy with its decision: healthcare is a human right. A universal system was created and the people of Taiwan have not looked back.
Oh, you thought I was referring to the United States?
Well, at nearly the same juncture of history, the debate over a universal healthcare system, providing health insurance to every American, was being debated in the halls of our federal government.
In the US, nothing ever materialized at that time; nor has anything in the over 20 years since, despite the marginal benefits provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
When it came time for Taiwan to determine whether a universal health insurance system was the right choice for its people and their economy, consideration was actually given to replicate the American health insurance provisions in existence in the early 1990s.
An impartial evaluation determined it would be disastrous to model the Taiwanese system after the American “system.”
Over 20 years later, the Taiwanese people continue to allow their government to provide a universal health insurance plan, covering all of the basic medical necessities, while allowing for secondary private insurance, which can supplement or enhance an individuals medical choices.
In the United States, we still have around 23 million people without health insurance.
There are a little more than 23 million people in Taiwan.
Think about that.
I get goosebumps thinking about the health insurance of the entire country of Taiwan vanishing overnight.
I also get goosebumps thinking about the 23 million uninsured Americans acquiring health insurance overnight.