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Comparing and Contrasting Health Care Systems: United States and Japan


The health care system in United States and Japan has several similarities and difference though both countries belong to developed countries category. For that reason, this paper presents an analysis of the health care issues and trends in both countries by contracting and comparing the health systems adopted. The main reasons for choosing Japan are that; the two states have varying health care systems and secondly; they belong to different geographical regions. Currently, the two countries are working on serious controversial religious, legal and other ethical matters that directly influence health care and health care systems service delivery. Japan is geographically located in Asia while united states fall under North America (Holtz, 2008).


Health Statistics and Costs: Comparison between U.S. and Japan

According to National center for Health Statistics (CDC) recently released reports united states of America has a life expectancy of 74.4 and 79.8 years for both men and females respectively, a mortality rate of 6.5 persons per 1000 persons, and a per capita expenditure of 8608 in 2012.Moreover, the recent world bank report for last year indicated that united state total budget allocated 17.4 percent on health care services. Currently, the major illness includes among others heart diseases, cancer, stroke and respiratory disease. On the other hand, Japan differ slightly with a life expectancy for both men and female as 78.1 and 84.9 years respectively, a mortality rate of 5 persons per 1000 live births, a per capita expenditure of 3609 trillion and lastly, a GDP of 8.567 trillion dollars in 2012. Despite Japan having a smaller GDP ratio, the country boast of a higher life expectancy (Jackson & Nolen 2010). Currently, the health care systems fights diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2, stroke and respiratory diseases such as swine flu.

Health Care Financing: Comparison between U.S. and Japan

A higher percentage of health care facilities are financed under insurance plans either by individuals, employers or through government. The government has Medicare and Medicaid programs which held 17.9 percent of gross GDP in 2011.These medical financing schemes cover government officials such as military personnel, government agencies and the aged. It is found that over 64 percent of all United States citizens Medicare schemes fall under insurance schemes. However, the congressional budget office is keen to reduce the Medicare and Medicaid kits since 2011.This means that private sector that involves employers possess the highest portion of medical services funding programs. On the other hand, the Japanese health care facilities are financed by government through taxes, employers through health insurance schemes and individuals. Therefore we can conclude by saying that Japanese and United States health care programs are similar in financing basis (Wise & Yashiro, 2012).

Healthcare Administration: Comparison between U.S. and Japan

There are several government agencies such as ministry of health, The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), Federal Bureau of Prisons, a government agency that regulates prison health care, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulates employers under the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Insurance companies which and the Medicare and Medicaid institutions under Affordable Health Care Act. On other occasion, EBSA also administers the reporting requirements for all continuing health-care provision. On the other hand, Japanese government agencies tasked with regulation of pension health care programs include; ministry of health, health care insurance companies who controls the Employees’ Health Insurance and the National Health Insurance; a community-based system. Hence in conclusion, insurance companies play a vital role on side of private sector based health care financing matters.

Health Care Personnel and Facilities: Comparison between U.S. and Japan

United States has some of the best facilities with multibillions non universal based health care systems that touch cancer care, mental illness, respiratory diseases accidents and other major illness. According to American Hospital Association annual survey in 2011, there are a total of 36 564 886 registered hospitals. However we have several thousands of insurance companies and dispensaries found to offer different medical services. Moreover, U.S based health care systems employs over 18 millions personnel who range from doctors, nurses, technicians and social workers. Women represent over 80 percent of this work force.

On the other hand, Japan has a lower number of health personnel compared to United States of America. Some of the medical practitioners are even trained at United States and therefore this is a gesture that United States has better and a large amount of personnel and health facilities compared to Japan (Graig, 2011).

Access and Inequality Issues: Comparison between U.S. and Japan

There are different inequality issues pertaining to health care system in United States. Currently there are over 18 million health care personnel in U.S but around 80 percent of them are women. On the side of medical service accessibility, over 19 percent of United States citizens do not have insurance cover and therefore difficult for them to access better and efficient medical services.nly 64 percent are under private or public based medical covers. Around 10 percent of the entire Japanese population is uninsured .Secondly; there is a lot of inequality issue relating to promotion, payment and other work related matters. Therefore we can conclude that both countries face several disparities in the health care system.


It is evident from that Japanese and United States health care systems have several similarities and differences regardless of the two countries lying in different geographical regions. The differences resulted to the citizens enjoy different services from the institutions that provides medical services. However, the American seems to enjoy better services compared to Japanese.