Universal health care

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A universal health care system provides health care for all persons in a particular jurisdiction. Such a system is financed through taxes,government mandated insurance premiums or both. In some instances health care workers work directly for the government. Alternately, the government may operate a health insurance program, which pays self-employed doctors and private not-for-profit hospitals for services rendered.


One of the first systems of government mandated health insurance was instituted in Germany in 1883 under Otto Von Bismarck. A national health insurance act was passed in the United Kingdom in 1911. In 1948 the U.K. adopted the National Health Service, providing government operated health care.

The first North American system of universal health care was adopted in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan in 1962.