Many f us think that this problem only happens in third world countries. However, this problem is existing in almost every single society in the world. Defining poverty in one term “absolute” is inadequate. Moreover, it is difficult to define “necessity’. In a modern society like Hong Kong, a mobile phone and a computer with internet is considered a necessity but in third world countries like India or Africa, this is not the case. Therefore, another concept relative poverty is worthwhile to be considered. Relative poverty is the condition that people are treated unfairly with various inequalities.
For example, some people are paid less than the others while this causes them to live under the normal circumstances in their particular society. In this essay, I am going to discuss how the Hong Kong Government and CJS government have dealt with poverty and examine if they have successfully alleviated absolute poverty and realtive poverty. Health, education and shelter are the main aspects that I am going to analyze in this essay. First of all, I am going to discuss the healthcare in Hong Kong. Health means that all citizens have access to healthcare and medical assistance such as eeing a doctor and having surgery.
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Healthcare has always been very expensive everywhere in the world, and just visiting a doctor once could be very hard for people living in poverty to afford. In 2010, the Government created a healthcare reform called “My Health, My Choice”, a programme specifically subsidizing Hong Kong Residents with an a lot cheaper, alternative to private healthcare in Hong Kong. Table 1 . 1: Fees and Charges for Eligible Persons Service Fees Cost Subsidized Rate Accident and Emergency $1 00 per attendance $700. 00 86. 00% In-patient (general beds) $1 00 per day 3,790. 00 97. 0% In-patient (convalescent, rehabilitation, infirmary & psychiatric beds) $68 per day $1,490. 00 95. 00% Specialist Out-patient $1 00 (First Attendance) $60 (Subsequent Attendance) $530. 00 81-89% Specialist Out-patient (drug) $10 per drug item $120. 00 92. 00% General Out-Patient $45. 00 per attendance $250. 00 82. 00% In accordance with the figures on table 1 . 1, the Hong Kong Government has subsidized an enormous amount of money for people in need of healthcare, over 90% for most of the categories, allowing people living in poverty to have cheap medical assistance.
In the United States of America, citizens are encouraged to buy insurance in order to receive “free” healthcare. After a citizen has visited a doctor and received healthcare, the service provider sends a bill to the patient’s insurance company. If the service that was offered is in the terms of the contract, the insurer will pay the provider what was charged, but if the service was not in the terms of the contract, the insurer may pay only a part of the fee, and the patient is required to pay the rest. Based on their policy, the more you pay for the insurance, the better the coverage.
Thus, if rich people uy more expensive insurance, they get more coverage which means that they have higher quality of healthcare. On the other hand, if poor people cannot afford insurance, they will have to pay for their own medical fees which they most likely end up not seeing a doctor. Comparing the aspect of medical services, think that Hong Kong is more effective in granting poor people medical access than the United States, poor people in Hong Kong can still receive cheap medical service, while in the US this is not possible. Secondly, am going to discuss about housing. Citizens need to have a place o live in.
The housing shortage problem is serious in Hong Kong. Apart from soaring property and rental prices, cramped living conditions trouble many people, as space is very limited in Hong Kong. Shortage in the supply of housing has pushed up property and rental prices substantially. Many families have to move into smaller or older flats, or even factory buildings. Cramped living space in cage homes, cubicle apartments and sub-divided flats have become the choice for tens of thousands of Hong Kong people. In April 1954, the Government established the Hong Kong Housing Authority to ake improvements for the living environment of low income families.
The first public housing estate was built in 1958 in North Point. Over the years, the Government announced many programmes like the “Ten-year Housing Program” and the “Long Term Housing Strategy”. Until now, the Government has developed land on a large scale, building large-scale public housing projects (table 1. 2). The government has built approximately 15,000 Public Rental Housing (PRH) flats per annum but still have issues with the demand of public housing from the community. Table 1. 2: Facts and Figures of Public Housing until 201 3
Item Fi gure Total Number of Public Housing Estates 171 Number of Public Housing Flats 650000 Total Number of Residents 2 Million Minimum Allocation Standard 5. 5 sq. m In the United States of America, subsidized low income housing are provided with a place to live and charged 30% of their monthly income as rent. The government determines in advance what the fair market rent for the property is, and then pays the difference after the 30% that was received. In those subsidized housing communities, there are many issues such as many concentrated blocks Of apartment buildings and poor living conditions.
The partments have poor insulation and electricity, and are generally very small to live in. A Boston study showed that dampness and heating issues in public housing caused mold, fungi, which creates an asthma rate much higher than the national average. Comparing of aspect of public housing, think that the Hong Kong Government has also given a slight edge over the public housing in the US, even though there is inadequate public housing in Hong Kong. In my opinion, quality is more important than quantity. Just because there is more land for housing in the US, the quality of their apartment buildings are very low.
Hong Kong apartments all have great renovation and good facilities in the apartment such as toilets and kitchens. Moving on to education, education is a string that can lead us to many great things. People can have access to free education from the Hong Kong Government which can bring them to many heights. Statistics show that people who dropped out of school mainly come from low income families rather than high Ones The Hong Kong Government has made nUrneroUS changes in the education reform from 1970’s, offering 6 years of voluntary education.
Along the years, the voluntary education reform increased to 12 ears, in which both primary and secondary education are paid for and being compulsory. This offers a chance for poor families to send their children to school for at least 12 years of basic education. After the 12 years, the government will also subsidize tertiary education by granting and loaning money to students in need. In the United States of America, education is also free for 12 years, giving all children basic secondary education.
After the 12 years, if the child has a high Grade Point Average (GPA) in high school, they may also get free college funds. This system helps motivate the poor people, knowing that they can have the chance to receive free college education. In my opinion, the two policies that both countries have provided have their advantages. Hong Kong government can grant and loan money to the university students while colleges in the US can provide the high GPA students with free education. If the student is very smart and constantly gets good grades, then the US option would be better for him/her.
However, if the students’ grades are just average, then the Hong Kong system would be more suitable. As you can see, the Hong Kong Government and US government have obviously helped the people suffering in poverty through many schemes and programmes. However are these schemes effective enough to alleviate poverty? In my opinion, the Hong Kong Government has done more things to alleviate absolute poverty than the American Government has, but we are unclear on how both government do to alleviate relative poverty.
Relative poverty is still existing in Hong Kong and in the US as there is a very big difference between the rich families and the ones suffering in relative poverty. Sure, the Hong Kong Government has fulfilled the basic needs to be over the term “absolute poverty” but programs such as cheap healthcare require people to wait in line for a very long time. On the other hand, the US Government should invest more on alleviating absolute poverty, as the problem is still not completely solved. I believe that there is still relative poverty in Hong Kong and in the US.
For example, if you want to enter the accident and emergency unit to see a doctor, the average waiting time is 9 hours, while richer families can just go to a clinic or private hospital which costs a lot more. Even the middle class cannot afford private hospitals, let alone the lower class. The Government will continue to enhance the quality of public healthcare services, including construction of new hospitals and redevelopment of existing hospitals, as there was serious overflow in all of the public hospitals.
Attempting to build more hospitals can help widespread the amount of people in one hospital to many different ones. Also, the government has planned to use 40. 4 billion dollars to strengthen the public healthcare system and enhance the quality. In the US, the Affordable Care Act was created in 201 0 when Obama was President, which was enacted with the goals of increasing the quality as well as the affordability of the health insurance. This was created as a result of the rising costs which leads to the declining rate of people applying for health insurance.
This program now covers 31 % of the population in the LJnited States, and has estimated that roughly 33 million citizens would be uninsured by 2022 if they did not have the act. In my opinion, both the Governments have put effort into improving healthcare. However, the Hong Kong Government only has plans on what to do in the future while the US Government has actually taken action. The healthcare policy in the United States is insurance based, which even gives a poor citizens a choice to consult the doctor they prefer, while in Hong Konb citizens are only restricted to government hospitals.
Furthermore, quality of education that has been given to children vary a lot. Children from rich families get higher quality education from Direct Subsidy Schools (DSS) and International Schools, whereas poorer families get their children sent to band 3 secondary schools. Some students who graduated from secondary schools who cannot enter tertiary level education can study n Community Colleges in Hong Kong, but they are not subsidized. Students need to bear the high cost with their studies in the Community Colleges.
In the US, the Federal Student Aid aims to help students with financial assistance-grants and loans-for education beyond high school. Also, an alternative route to college is to study in Community College with a low cost. This institution is subsidized by the Government, offering relatively cheaper courses for people in need to study in, which can be transferred to a bachelor programme in the future. Finally, we see undergraduates applying for public rental housing (PRH), and he number of Waiting List applications has exceeded 200,000 (table 1 3) in Hong Kong.