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Universal Health Care Advocacy
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Universal healthcare is a government-sponsored, single-payer system which ensures healthcare coverage for all citizens of a nation regardless of income level or employment status.

"We're already paying for universal coverage. We're just not getting it."
Dennis Kucinich

Research Universal Healthcare :
About.com
Wikipedia.org

Universal Health Care Around The World :

* In Australia the current system, known as Medicare, was instituted in 1984. It coexists with a private health system. Currently, the tax levy system of funding Medicare has led to a severe revenue shortfall, with increased costs to patients. This has triggered reforms by the Howard government to the scheme. Many critics claim that these reforms are in fact a move away from the principle of universal health care.

* Canada has a federally-sponsored publicly funded medicare system. Each province may opt out, though none currently do. Canada's system is known as a single payer system, where basic services are provided by private doctors, with the entire fee paid for by the government (a single payer) at the same rate. Other areas of health care such as dentistry and optometry are wholly private.

* Cuba has a wholly government controlled system that consumes a large proportion of the nation's GDP. The system does work on a for profit basis in treating patients from abroad. Cuba attracts patients mostly from Latin America and Eastern Europe by offering care of comparable quality to a developed nation but at much lower prices. While the government system is free to all, patients frequently pay out of pocket for drugs that are in short supply in the public system.

* In Finland the publicly funded medical system is funded by taxation and every citizen has state-funded health insurance. The system is comprehensive and compulsory, like in Sweden, and a small patient fee is also taken.

* In France, most doctors remain in private practice; there are both private and public hospitals. Social Security is a public organization (actually, several of them) distinct from the state government, and with separate budgets. It generally refunds patients 70% of most health care costs, and 100% in case of costly or long-term ailments. Supplemental coverage may be bought from private insurers, most of them nonprofit, mutual insurers. Until recently, social security coverage was restricted to those who contributed to social security (generally, workers or retirees), excluding some poor segments of the population; the government of Lionel Jospin put into place the "universal health coverage".

* In Ghana most health care is provided by the government, but hospitals and clinics run by religious groups also play an important role. Some for profit clinics exist, but they provide less than 2% of health services. Health care is very variable through the country. The major urban centres are well served, but rural areas often have no modern health care. Patients in these areas either rely on traditional medicine or travel great distances for care.

* In Israel, the publicly funded medical system is universal and compulsory. Payment for the services are shared by labor unions and the government.

* In South Africa parallel private and public systems exist. The public system serves the vast majority of the population but is chronically underfunded and understaffed. The wealthiest 20% uses the private system and are far better served.

* In Sweden, the publicly funded medicine system is comprehensive and compulsory. Physician and hospital services take a small patient fee, but the services are funded through the taxation scheme of the County Councils of Sweden.

* In 1948, the United Kingdom passed the National Health Service Act that provided free physician and hospital services to all citizens. Most doctors and nurses are on government payroll and receive salaries, a fixed fee for each patient assigned, and enhanced payments for specialized treatments or skills. The National Health Service has been amended from time to time, but is largely intact. Around 86% of prescriptions are provided free. Prescriptions are provided free to people who satisfy certain criteria such as low income or permanent disabilities. People that pay for prescriptions do not pay the full cost. For example, in 2004 most people in will pay a flat fee of £6.40 (€9.64, US$11.76) for a single drug prescription regardless of the cost (average cost to the health service was £11.10--about €16.70, US$20.40--in 2002). (Charges are lower in Wales, and the administration there is committed to their eventual elimination.) Funding comes from a hypothecated health insurance tax and from general taxation. Private health services are also available.

* The United States has been virtually alone among developed nations in not maintaining a publicly-funded health-care system since South Africa adopted one after toppling its apartheid regime, but a few states have taken serious steps toward achieving this goal, most notably Minnesota. Other states, while not attempting to insure all of their residents strictly speaking, cover large numbers of people by reimbursing hospitals and other health-care providers using what is generally characterized as a charity care scheme; New Jersey is perhaps the best example of a state that employs the latter strategy.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_healthcare

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