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Health Care System in Hong Kong

Essay by   •  April 21, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  941 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,767 Views

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Health care system

The objective of Hong Kong health care system is universal access to care. Everyone should have the equal right to adopt health care with acceptable quality and affordable fees. The health care system has to be socially equitable. Nowadays, Hong Kong faces various problems related to health care, such as rising of ageing population, rising health costs and widespread adoption of medical services. All of these induce a heavy financial burden on government. As technology is getting improved, widespread adoption of medical services raises the total costs (Roberts M. , 2006). Also, ageing population put stress on Hong Kong health care system in the future as many elders get chronic diseases, which cannot be easily cured.

Therefore, it is necessary for government to carry out health care system reform in order to deal with increasing demand and the large financial burden. There are three possible choices for the reform. Risk protection, equity about financing redistribution and quality are three main considerations. In the following, I will talk about cons and pros of these choices and then give recommendations.

1. Consumer choice in insurance market

Purchasing private insurance in the market is inequitable to the poor. As premium-based insurance imposes a regressive burden to buyers, the poor cannot afford the insurance premium. It may be a large proportion of their salaries. They cannot get risk protection. The private insurance fails to redistribute financing burden between the rich and poor. Thus the poor is difficult to support the costs of health care services. This system is unable to achieve the goal of universal access to care.

The sick cannot get risk protection since they may not be allowed to buy private insurance. Roberts (2006)pointed out that insurance companies may refuse their requirement of buying insurance or charge them at high rates so as to make them unaffordable to buy. Some companies may refuse to renew health insurances as they have gained benefits from these customers. This practice is called 'cream skimming'. Companies selling private health insurance put their profits in higher priority than customers'. So their customers cannot get risk protection.

2. Saving accounts

People save money for preparation of future medical use during their working years. Financial burden of government can be greatly relieved as people have to rely themselves.

This option is not workable and inefficient. There are two reasons. The first one is failure to provide redistribution. As everyone can only rely on their own saving, the poor cannot get help from the rich. Redistribution can reduce social inequity. But this option fails to carry out the redistribution. The poor have to contribute a significant part of their wages into saving accounts. So they have to consume less and hence their living standards are lowered. The rich should help the poor to get

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