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Article
June 22, 1994

Finland's Health Care SystemUniversal Access to Health Care in a Capitalistic Democracy

Author Affiliations

Department of Public Health University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland; The National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health Helsinki, Finland; Department of Health Services Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center Division of Hematology/Oncology and Center for Health Policy Research and Education Duke University Durham, NC

JAMA. 1994;271(24):1957-1962. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510480081040
Abstract

In Europe, several countries with national health services have started experimenting with planned markets.1 Finland has a national health care system funded through general taxation, with good access to care and a large emphasis on primary care and preventive services. In 1993, Finnish health care financing was reorganized with the purpose of increasing efficiency and performance.

Background  Since her independence in 1917, Finland has been a republic, combining a parliamentary system with a strong presidency. It is a country of 5 million inhabitants but is sparsely populated. The Finnish population is culturally and racially homogeneous. In contrast to Sweden and Denmark, there is very little immigration into Finland. Finland's economy was formerly dominated by agriculture; however, in the past few decades it has been primarily transformed into services (60% of the population) and industry (30% of the population).2 Finland governs by a capitalistic democracy, but its people have

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