Health Care Systems


Health Economics

  • Systems for financing and providing health care vary substantially across jurisdictions. They are commonly classified (by first world writers) into four (not very well-differentiated) types: sickness insurance (private insurance and care provision with often large public subsidies and governmental regulation as in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands); national health insurance (public insurance with premiums either separate or embodied in the tax structure and mixtures of public and private provision as in Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain or Sweden); national health services (public insurance mostly via the tax structure and mostly public provision as in Denmark, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Turkey and the UK); mixed systems (having the forgoing in varying mixes, as in Australia, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland and the US). Some would dispute that the latter group (especially the US) classifies as a 'system'. The greater part of humankind does not live under any kind of health care 'system'. Some of the other features for framing 'systems', without attempting to be all-embracing, might be: traditional health care; primary, secondary, tertiary health care; 'Western' health care; health services, public health.