Is the Socialized Healthcare System of Germany More Just Than the Healthcare System of the United States? Observations from a Primary Care Practice in Rural Germany

By Maria Schneeweiss.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Health is a basic human right. Nevertheless, in 2011 about 40 million people had no health insurance in the United States. European healthcare systems are frequently referenced as examples of well-functioning systems that cost less, cover almost all residents, and produce better health outcomes. I designed a questionnaire to interview patients from a rural primary care practice in Germany, several physicians, and nearby German residents about their attitudes towards their healthcare system. Despite a general sense of content with their system among interviewees, a sizable percentage of patients complained about copayments and lack of coverage (27%) particularly among retirees who have a strong sense of entitlement. Taxpayers complain about the unfairness that they have to shoulder the financial burden (32%) the elderly as well as the unemployed able-bodied. The German healthcare system may not be as idyllic as it is often perceived. It is more egalitarian and comprehensive from a societal perspective but not from an individual-level perspective. Each society will need to find the right balance of personal and societal gains that is acceptable for the majority of citizens.

Keywords: Justice in Health Care, Interview study, Social Justice, Healthcare systems

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 10, Issue 4, 2012, pp.55-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 137.441KB).

Maria Schneeweiss

Student, Department of Philosophy, Boston College, Boston, MA, USA

Maria Schneeweiss is a student in the Department of Philosophy at Boston College. Maria holds a unique grant from Boston College that allows her to examine the intersection of philosophy and medicine.