When it comes to its structure, the United States differs greatly from Norway. In 2002, Norway’s health system underwent a major change when the government took over responsibility for the entire hospital network throughout the country. In order to cover the costs of patients, the government funds the majority. The reform ensured that the health network would not go bankrupt, as all companies are owned by the government. The principle of equal access to all residents, regardless of their socioeconomic status, was ensured by this reform. In 2010, the government was responsible for 9.4 percent the GDP of the country.
In contrast to Norway, there is no uniform system of health insurance in the United States. In the United States, they have a “hybrid system” in which 48 percent of their health care costs are paid for by private funds. The other 28 percent come from households, while 20 percent come from private business. So, the majority is privately financed. The United States has spent 16,9 percent of their GDP on healthcare, almost twice as much as Norway. The United States has 33 million residents who are not insured in 2014. This is about 10% of the population. The United States could reduce costs by adopting a more universal approach to healthcare. The model must be transformed from one dominated by the government to one based on market forces.
In which areas does the US health outperform Norway’s? In terms of health, Norway is superior to the United States on several fronts. Norway’s rate of obesity is four-times lower than in the United States. Norway is 17 years ahead of the United States when it comes to life expectancy. Norway offers high-quality medical care to its residents. However, there are many physicians who can be consulted by the public. Although the majority of Norway’s hospitals are state-owned, private ones are available for public use. Sub-national governments in Norway play an important role in collecting taxes for funding health services. The national government provides funding to compensate regions that have high or low needs. National governments set the rules for approval of medications, negotiating with service providers and patient contribution levels.
Norway is the only country where patients pay for health care out of pocket. The United States has a higher deductible, but Norway’s residents are offered a much wider range of options. Private insurance companies charge monthly premiums on top. The United States has 37% of their population experiencing some kind of barrier because of costs, while Norway only had 10%. The fair combination of a single-payer insurance system and co-payments, which don’t distort the private market in Norway, is responsible for this.