Comparing Healthcare Systems in the US and UK

Sustaining and improving the health care system is admitted to be an essential governmental duty since the lives and wellbeing of a country’s citizens depend on its structure. However, the attitude towards this task differs from country to country, depending on its economic, political, and social arrangement. For example, the health care system of the United States and the United Kingdom are relatively distinct, despite the fact that both countries are of industrial type. Yet, these systems had different development paths throughout their history, which explains these variations. As such, these health care systems are based on different grounds: the US concentrates on the private sector while the UK serves the public.

The first difference between the services and structures of the systems lies in providing access to the people who are not financially stable. Namely, children, unemployed, and retired people are treated differently in the US and UK. The former country’s system has a Children’s Health Insurance Program for minors, while other citizens depend on insurance for accessing health services. For individuals with low income, there is a Medicaid option (Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). In contrast, the UK’s government organized the National Health Service, which provides free healthcare to all citizens, regardless of their economic status (Expatica, 2021). Thus, the systems differ in their programs for various groups of the population.

The other important feature of a healthcare system is medication coverage. Similar to the situation with access to medical services, an individual’s income determines the drug prescription function in the US. According to Shi and Singh (2019), medication coverage is a part of the advanced healthcare plan. In the UK, essential medication is covered by the global budget, while additional drugs are relatively inexpensive (Shi and Singh, 2019). Thus, the UK system provides access to all medications without creating any disparities between patients.

Next, the requirements for referral to a healthcare institution may imply differences. However, they are similar in the US and UK for the most part. All people who are granted medical help obtain a primary care physician (in the US) or general practice physician (in the UK). When a person needs medical help, they can get it from these clinicians without a referral. However, the special services which involve help from professionals in particular parts of medicine are accessed through referral. Usually, primary care physicians guarantee such referrals (Shi and Singh, 2019). Therefore, the healthcare system of referrals is to a great extent analogous in the countries discussed in the essay.

Another debated element of a healthcare system includes coverage of a preexisting condition. Namely, the question of coverage is relevant to US health care since it relies on insurance and plans for each individual under care. Previously, companies could charge a patient more if they had diseases that were earlier covered by their old insurances. Nowadays, it is an illegal activity in US healthcare institutions (Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, 2021). In the UK, all people can get equal coverage, so the issue is non-existent.

Finally, the financial implications for citizens of the US and UK are unique for both countries. As was discussed earlier, the US proposes private services for their population. People select a healthcare plan according to their income. In the UK, citizens pay for healthcare through the general taxation system. If one needs special services, they can use private clinics (Shi and Singh, 2019). Hence, the financial system in healthcare is polar for the US and UK.

To conclude, both countries have highly different systems of healthcare. The US government benefits people with high incomes who can afford expensive medical help and additional services. In contrast, UK healthcare makes no exception for its citizens and provides equal access to primary services in its clinics. Moreover, drugs are more accessible in the UK because of their lower price and availability of coverage by the global budget.


Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. (2021). Pre-Existing conditions. HHS. Web.

Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Health care coverage options for unemployed. HealthCare. Web.

Expatica. (2021). Healthcare in the UK: A guide to the NHS. Web.

Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2019). Essentials of the U.S. health care system (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Removal Request
A real student has written this essay about Comparing Healthcare Systems in the US and UK and owns intellectual rights to it. If you plan to use this work for research purposes, make sure to include an according citation.
Request to Remove Content

If you are the content owner and don’t want it to be available on our website anymore, feel free to send us a removal request. We’ll fulfill it after reviewing.

Send the Request
Receive a free price quote