Unlike the UK, there is no national health care provision in the USA. A variety of federal government and state-supported health programmes give assistance to the elderly, the poor, and children in less well-off families.
In the USA, most Americans are expected to provide for their own health care through private medical insurance. 58% receive their private health insurance through their employer. Companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield are among the leading private health care providers.
US government health programmes cover around 28% of the population (83 million people) and include:
Until recently, around 45 million Americans (15% of the population) had no private health insurance and did not qualify for Medicaid. The numbers of uninsured Americans increased as access to healthcare became increasingly unaffordable and many employers were reducing the coverage they provided to workers.
The US healthcare system can work well for those with full coverage private medical insurance. Facilities and treatments are world-class, public satisfaction rates are high and waiting times are low.
In America, African American and Hispanic people are more likely to have lower incomes or to be unemployed. They are therefore less likely to have private medical insurance. They are also more likely to depend on Medicare or to be uninsured.