Public or private ?

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Although health systems are funded by public and private finance in all OECD countries, the public sector remains the main source everywhere, except in the US and Mexico, accounting for an average of 72.5% of health spending in 26 OECD countries.
In some, including the Czech Republic, Denmark and the UK, the public share accounted for more than 80%. In the US there was an increase in its public share of health spending in the 1990s, reflecting policies to meet more of the needs of the elderly and poor. Private insurance plays a significant role in the US – 36% of total health expenditure in 2002 – and it accounts for relatively large shares of funding in Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Out-of-pocket payments from households form more than 30% of total health expenditure in Switzerland, Korea and Mexico. The share of public funding has increased considerably in Korea and Portugal, but has fallen in Hungary and Poland.© OECD Observer, No.244, September 2004


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