Taiwan’s health care system lauded by New York Times

"Relative to the U.S. and some other countries, Taiwan spends a lot less of its economy on health care" and is doing great.

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s government-run single-payer National Health Insurance (NHI) was recently cited as a good model for the U.S. in a New York Times article.

In an article co-written by Aaron E. Carroll, professor with Indiana University School of Medicine, and Austin Frakt, associate professor with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, under the title "The Leap to Single-Payer: What Taiwan Can Teach," it started with the predecessors of the NHI in the country and how it has evolved into one of the best systems in the world, despite some drawbacks found in the beginning.

And today, "the health insurance Taiwan provides is comprehensive" and "it's much more thorough than Medicare is in the United States," according to the article published on Tuesday.

Both professors, however, pointed out the predicament of Taiwan's growing physician shortage and poor work conditions along with insufficient pay to physicians under the system. And its quality, according to both professors, has room for improvement.

In Taiwan, the low-cost health care system has been partially attributed to its doctors being underpaid and understaffed.

"For a country that spends relatively little on health care, Taiwan is accomplishing quite a lot," and can be learnt from, they wrote.

The system has been in place since 1995 with more than 99 percent of Taiwan's population enrolled. Foreigners studying and working in Taiwan can also join the healthcare plan and enjoy the most affordable as well as quality healthcare service in the world. With that, Taiwan beats many other developed nations in the survey for quality of life by InterNations and has remained in the top rankings for many years.

Click here to see how foreigners living in Taiwan can access the health care system