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10 Health Care Systems Around the World


In the U.S., both Republicans and Democrats can find something to like about Switzerland's health care system. Democrats may like that the Swiss have had universal coverage since 1994, though 95 percent of citizens already had it before the official designation. Republicans may like that this universal coverage isn't provided by the government, but rather by private insurance. Unfortunately, neither party may like the cost: Switzerland has the second most expensive system of health care in the world after the United States [source: PBS].

Unlike in the U.S., insurance in Switzerland isn't tied to one's employment. Rather, all citizens choose from a selection of private plans; those who can't afford to buy one may receive subsidies from the government. Everyone's premium for one of these private plans is the same. Another crucial difference from the U.S. is that private insurance companies in Switzerland aren't allowed to make a profit on basic health care, basic health care being a rather comprehensive set of services. The companies are allowed to operate at a profit for providing services such as dental care, alternative medicine or the guarantee of a private hospital room [source: Rovner].

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