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The German health-care system

, : The German health-care system. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 72(11): 1061-1068

The German health-care system is characterized by a statutory health insurance based on the principle of social solidarity. Nonprofit sickness funds and regional associations of physicians are the central components of the German system. The historical development of the system for more than 100 years has been characterized by negotiations, rather than confrontation, among physicians, patients, and insurance carriers. With the increasing sophistication of modern medicine, medical expenditure is rising, and great demands are facing the health-care systems of the industrialized world. The hope is that the German system will be able to preserve the principle of solidarity and remain a one-tier health-care system rather than allow health care to be viewed as essentially a private consumption good, in which case availability and quality are allowed to vary with family income. As a means to achieve this goal, the autonomy of the sickness funds and regional associations of physicians will be increased substantially, and the governmental authority will be decreased. Strengthening of autonomy must be accompanied by incentives for self-responsibility and self-participation of Germany's citizens.


PMID: 9374983

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