How might universal healthcare insurance increase preventive care use in the United States? : a comparison of the United States and Taiwan
Hsiou, Tiffany Raetine.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Background: In the next few years, the United States will undergo comprehensive health care reform that aims to expand health insurance coverage to 95 percent of Americans. This thesis offers an analysis of how individual demand for preventive health care may change as a result of having nation-wide health insurance expansion. Taiwan serves as an example of a nation that has already undergone nation-wide health insurance expansion. Method: By comparing preventive care use rates in the United States and Taiwan, I examine the effects of having a universal single payer health care system in Taiwan on preventive medical care use. Conclusions: I find two important results. One, I find that the Taiwanese system has almost entirely eliminated the positive correlation between income and use of health care services, while the U.S. system has not. Contrary to the economic theory of increased demand as a result of decreased prices, my findings suggest that price is not a strong determinant of one's degree of participation in preventive care. Two, I find that people in the United States use more preventive health care than people in Taiwan. This thesis concludes that while Taiwan's universal health care insurance system did not lead to as high rates of preventive care use as the U.S., it did greatly reduce inequality of access to healthcare due to socioeconomic differences.
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