Healthcare in CzechiaAccording to the European Consumer Health Care Index of 2019, the Czech Republic’s healthcare system is ranked 14th out of the European Union countries. The European Consumer Health Care Index attempts to provide a ranking based on the perspective of the consumer. Some measures used to determine this perspective include “patient rights and information, access to care, treatment outcomes, range and reach of services provided, and prevention.” In fact, according to the Index, healthcare in Czechia is more successful than initially expected, considering the small amount spent per capita.

Healthcare in Czechia

The Czech Republic spends around 7% of its GDP on healthcare. Other funding comes from employees and employers who pay toward the healthcare system. Anyone who works for a Czech employer has health insurance. The Czech Republic government makes contributions on behalf of the unemployed, so coverage is essentially universal.

Aside from employee-funded and government-funded public healthcare options, the Czech Republic also offers an option for private insurance. The differences between the public and private healthcare systems can be significant. For instance, common problems with the public system include very long wait times for patients, tired and overworked doctors and a lack of English-speaking doctors. These are common issues in public healthcare systems, to which some countries have responded by offering a more expensive but private option, as the Czech Republic does.

Coverage for All

When comparing healthcare in Czechia with other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, the Czech Republic stands out as a “star performer.” Its high ranking is attributed to healthcare accessibility, cost-effectiveness and lack of corruption.

The idea of universal healthcare in the Czech Republic dates back to the 18th century, when the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Joseph II built hospitals and organized ways for everyone to have healthcare. By 1900, most European countries had state-subsidized healthcare. The Czech Republic, which was then part of Czechoslovakia, had one of the best healthcare systems in Europe even then.

In an article published by StarTribune, author Bonnie Blodgett explores what she considers to be the most important aspect of Czech healthcare: the idea of “self-administration.” Blodgett dates this back to the year 1989, when the Czech Republic government began to emphasize a bottom-up, instead of top-down, decision-making process.

A prime example of “self-administration” in Czech healthcare, aside from the ability to choose public or private, is doctors’ incentives to practice medicine. In the United States, being a doctor is a well-paying job. As Blodgett points out, some Americans may enter medicine with a primary interest in the financial incentives. This is not the case in the Czech Republic. Instead, doctors and nurses enter the profession to make sick people healthy. This is incentivized by the government, which gives and withholds money based on medical results.

Problems with the Czech System

The system of “self-administration” is not perfect. Many Czech doctors and physicians have threatened to leave the Czech Republic to work in a different European country that will pay them higher wages. Additionally, some critics of the Czech system worry that the government’s insistence on keeping public healthcare as affordable as possible risks turning healthcare in Czechia into a two-tier system. Interestingly, Blodgett points out that many Americans travel to Prague to undergo surgery because of how inexpensive the procedures are compared to in the United States.

Despite potential problems for the Czech Republic’s healthcare system, the country’s determination to keep healthcare affordable and accessible for all citizens is commendable. For now, the Czech Republic remains one of the most affordable and well-ranked healthcare systems in Europe.

Lara Smith
Photo: Flickr

1- facts about life expectancy in the czech republic
The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is home to more than 10 million people who thrive on the country’s successful market economy and readily available health insurance, which has benefited both their income and life expectancy. Here are 10 facts about life expectancy in the Czech Republic.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in the Czech Republic

  1. Since 1960, the overall life expectancy for Czechs has steadily increased, starting at roughly 70 years in 1960 and reaching 79 years by 2017. Statistics from 2017 showed the highest life expectancy rate in Czechia thus far. The annual rate for life expectancy first increased in 1968, reaching 0.93 percent by 1998. The numbers then decreased to 0.57 percent in 2017, and appear to have remained constant since.
  2. The average life expectancy differs between men and women in the Czech Republic. As of 2018, the average male lives 76 years, while the average female lives to the age of 82.
  3. This increase in life expectancy is mainly due to modern medicine, healthier lifestyles and a cleaner environment. In fact, most elderly men and women in Czechia now only suffer health troubles toward their last few months of life.
  4. The Czech Republic’s market economy has one of the highest GDP growth rates in the European Union, as well as an impressively low unemployment rate of 2.9 percent in 2017. This statistic has led to an increase in salaries, allowing more people to afford better health care services and living environments.
  5. The death rate, maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate are all fairly low in Czechia, allowing for steady growth in population and life expectancy. These rates are due to the improved health care system that the country introduced in the early 1990s, which completely reconstructed clinics and created a new health insurance policy that encompasses multiple standards and categories of health care.
  6. Since 2014, the Czech government has introduced political reforms in an attempt to attract investment, lower corruption and improve social welfare, which in turn may benefit living conditions for the populace. The National Strategy to Combat Corruption weeded out several corrupt officials in the government and law enforcement. In addition, bribery has gone down in the market, as the state no longer controls consumer goods and services. Since people have more control over their economy, the health care the government provides is more affordable.
  7. In 2007, Czech Radio addressed life expectancy, claiming that living in Prague, the nation’s capital, would increase one’s lifetime by five years.
  8. Czechia’s senior citizens receive quality care with various organizations and activities to provide for them. One such organization is Senior Praha, which presents the elderly with equipment and operation of home health care, social and health care, medical equipment and health and beauty spas, among many other things.
  9. The Czech Republic has kept its citizens healthy with its improved health care system. Statistically, 99 percent of the total population has received improvements in sanitation facilities, and there have been less than 100 deaths from HIV/AIDS.
  10. In 2009, the most common and frequent cause of death was circulatory system disease, with the second most frequent being malignant neoplasms. Now, the Czech Republic has a significantly high vaccination coverage—more than 97 percent in all pertinent immunization categories—and a system that provides health insurance to the vast majority of the population.

In short, these 10 facts about life expectancy in the Czech Republic are a testament to the country’s successful health care reforms and improvements. The country’s success in business and marketing has also benefited the affordability of its health insurance. If the Czech Republic continues at this rate, its people may see another rise in their overall life expectancy.

– Yael Litenatsky
Photo: Flickr

Changing its name from the Czech Republic to Czechia in 2016, this Central European country has recently been on the rise economically, and poverty in Czechia has improved. A current account recorded a trade surplus just under one percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015. This was an increase of more than four percent in five years, from a deficit of 3.6 percent in 2010.

In categorical comparison with other countries, the picture of the position of poverty in Czechia – a small, landlocked nation – is bright.

GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is a sound indicator of how poverty in Czechia affects the country as a whole, as it represents the final value of all goods and services produced in a single year factored at current United States exchange rates.

Poverty in Czechia is minimal and limited, based on GDP at PPP, as the country ranked 50th out of the 230 countries, nation-states and islands evaluated by the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book in 2016. The GDP at PPP for Czechia was a reported $315 billion in 2016. Comparatively, China is ranked number one with a GDP at PPP of more than $21 trillion and the small New Zealand island of Tokelau ranked last with a GDP at PPP of $1.5 million.

The actual GDP of Czechia in 2015 was $185.2 billion, according to The World Bank. With a population of 10.5 million people at the time, the GDP per capita was around $32,500 in 2015. Comparatively, Czechia ranked 58th in 2016 with a GDP per capita; Qatar ranked first, at $129,700 per capita and Somalia ranked 230th, or last, with a 2016 GDP per capita of merely $400.

According to The World Bank, poverty in Czechia was at 9.7 percent in 2013, a representative decrease in the percentage of people living at or below the poverty level from a decade prior, when the figure was at 10 percent.

The statistics and graphs shown on The World Bank’s database show large amounts of fluctuation in the poverty levels in Czechia over the last decade, rising and falling almost annually. While this figure fluctuates greatly, a stabilized number in the statistics on poverty in Czechia is the percentage of the population living on less than $1.90 a day. Less than a tenth of a percent of the Czechian population survives on less than $1.90, and that number has been the same for more than a half-decade.

The World Bank predicts a 2.5 percent growth in GDP this fiscal year (2017) for Czechia and a population growth under two-tenths of a percentage point. Currently, in the small, landlocked country–less than the size of South Carolina–there are 137 people per square kilometer.

The country’s Gross National Income in 2015 was around $18,000, and the lowest 20 percent of the earnings population accounted for 9.6 percent of the income share in 2012.

The average life expectancy in the country was 79.5 years in 2015, with 100 percent of the population having access to improved water systems. More than 99 percent of the people used improved sanitation facilities that year.

Poverty in Czechia is on the decline as the Central European member of the European Union saw a 4.5 percent growth in GDP in 2015. Compared to other countries being studied, Czechia is a stably improving country of prosperity, with its auto and manufacturing industries supporting internal growth.

Shaun Savarese

Photo: Flickr