Socialized Medicine: Definition & Concept

Instructor: Kimberly Carpenter

Kimberly has an undergraduate degree in Lab Sciences and a Master's degree in Education.

This lesson will provide a definition for socialized medicine. It will also present examples of socialized medicine and give an overview as to how these examples impact the general population. A short quiz will follow.

Definition of Socialized Medicine

Socialized medicine is a term that has become quite familiar to a lot of Americans. In rather simple terms, it is a system that provides the entire population with comprehensive medical care through funds mandated and regulated by the government.

While this is not the perfect form of health care to many individuals, there are several countries whose citizens have been living under the umbrella of socialized medicine their entire lives. It is important to understand that socialized medicine does not only encompass your hospital stay. Depending on the country or the rules put into place by the government, this form of health care may also include dental care and prescription medication as well.

Medicine Bottle and Pills

Various Models of Socialized Medicine

Just as no two snowflakes are exactly the same, no two forms of socialized medicine will be operated exactly the same in different countries. There are different ways governments have the ability to pay for the health care they will be providing to their citizens. The largest way the government ensures funds are available for health care is through different tax revenues. Two examples of countries that use strictly socialized medical plans are the countries of Finland and Sweden. These countries both contain governments which oversee the operation of every aspect concerning health care and fund all of these services with tax revenues.

Yet a different model of socialized medicine is in the country of Germany. This model is referred to as a compulsory national insurance system because you are required to actually purchase your insurance through this type of system. Once this policy is purchased, the government will then be responsible for a certain base allotment of funds per individual in addition to providing additional funding if you fall within a certain socioeconomic status range.

Lesson Summary

Politicians in the United States either support or strenuously oppose the integration of socialized medicine in our current health care community. The politicians who support the measure believe socialized medicine will be the answer to all of our country's problems concerning out-of-control health care spending. Opposing views believe this form of medicine will hinder access for certain citizens to adequate and timely health care. However, the reality of the matter is that most countries have some sort of public funded health care mixed with privately-funded entities that step in and pay extra costs when necessary.

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