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November 3, 2021

Right-Based Mental Health Care—Advantages of Tax-Financed Universal Mental Health Care: Lessons From Denmark

Author Affiliations
  • 1Copenhagen Research Centre for Mental Health (CORE), Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark, Gentofte Hospitalsvej, Hellerup
  • 2Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 3, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.3167

Different countries all over the world have different models for organizing mental health care provision, but the Nordic countries have an almost identical model, based on tax-financed, universally available mental health care. In the following, we will illustrate this model with experiences from Denmark.

As early as 1933, health insurance became mandatory in Denmark, and in 1960, health insurance was centralized and organized under a single authority in the municipalities. Since 1971, health service provision has been financed by taxes, and as a general rule, health services are publicly owned and universally available without direct individual payment for the service user. All citizens have their own general practitioner (GP), whom they can consult without a fee and who play a key role as “gatekeeper” to the private specialists and the hospital sector as well as in facilitating access to health-related needs in the extensive Danish social sector.

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