“Do American and Swiss patients get what they pay for?”
Published 16 Nov 2017 | swissinfo.ch by Tony Ganzer and Geraldine Wong Sak Hoi
“Health care doesn’t come cheap in the United States or Switzerland, and depending on your situation, the bill can vary widely. Are Americans and the Swiss getting top-quality care for their money?
Several readers wanted to know how much residents in the two countries pay for health care, in terms of public and private contributions, and whether the quality of care justifies the costs.
We’ve already given a primer on the health care systems in each country, and how many different insurance options US residents have depending on how much they make, what they do, and how old they are.
What does it cost, and why?
US healthcare spending is a whopping 17% of GDP, or more than $9,000 per capita. (Some estimates put the cost per person over $10,000). By comparison, Switzerland spends about 12% of GDP, at more than $6,300 per capita.
One reason for the higher cost in the US is that variety in coverage we mentioned before. With so many different insurance options and programs, there are lots of opportunities for increased administrative costs, and variety in how people might interact with health care services. It’s more expensive for someone to just go to an emergency room than deal with a doctor visit, for example. The EMTALA Act requires that the public have access to emergency care regardless of ability to pay. But that was meant to enable a patient to be stabilized and not as a general health care solution.
In some ways the Swiss health care system before reform looked a lot like the core of the US system. What changes did Switzerland make?
The biggest reasons for higher health care costs in the US might be linked to two things: prices and patients.”
“Two patchwork healthcare systems, and two stories of reform”
Published 2 Nov 2017 | swissinfo.ch
by Tony Ganzer and Geraldine Wong Sak Hoi, with input from Veronica DeVore
“In some ways the Swiss health care system before reform looked a lot like the core of the United States’ system, which might be why many eyed Switzerland during the wrangling over the Affordable Care Act. What changes did the Swiss make and what’s been the result?
In this first article in our series looking at health care on both sides of the Atlantic, we answer that question, sent in by one of our readers. He wondered what the Swiss system was like before reform and how it came about.
Why was there a desire for reform?
Before reform, insurance in Switzerland was not compulsory, rather voluntary, paid for in large part by premiums and co-pays. There was federal and cantonal support to help people who needed it, but that made up only 15 percent of financing. Some have argued that one “American” characteristic of this pre-reform system may have been the trend of private insurers snapping up non-profit “mutual” health plans, and refocusing on profits. This led private insurers to compete for “wealthy and healthy clients” because it’s cheaper and more profitable to insure people who are, well, healthier. Regulation existed in this pre-reform Helvetia, but wasn’t too heavy-handed.
It’s important to say that, even with more of an “American-style” system, Switzerland was still covering more than 90% of the population. (Some estimates put it at 96%). Why? Maybe one reason is because the Swiss are more risk averse, and have a strong sense of personal responsibility when it comes to health care.”
“US energy debate heats up as Solar Impulse plans trip”
Published April 20, 2016 | swissinfo.ch
“In many ways Phoenix, Arizona, would be a natural stop for a high-tech solar airplane like Solar Impulse because the sun influences many aspects of life in the desert city. But temperatures are rising in the state over disagreements on how to manage the growth of solar power.
Phoenix is one of four options for the next Solar Impulse landing. The others are Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. It would be a repeat visit for the Solar Impulse team, which stopped there while crossing the United States in 2013.
“The opportunity to be able to bring our airplane to the US, to do this flight across America, [is] something we’ve been dreaming about since the beginning of the project,” Solar Impulse’s co-founder André Borschberg told a group of graduating Arizona State University engineering students then.Continue reading “US energy debate heats up as Solar Impulse plans trip”