NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 1, 2007

America's health insurers put the spotlight on their counterparts in Europe Wednesday, part of an effort to demonstrate that not all countries with universal health systems have government-run programs like Canada or the United Kingdom, says USA Today.


  • The Dutch in 2006 changed from a system in which two-thirds of people were covered by a government health program and the wealthiest one-third bought their own private insurance.
  • Now everyone must buy private insurance from one of 30 competing insurers, with employers paying half the annual premium and individuals paying the rest.
  • Premiums and deductibles average around $3,000 a year per person and subsidies are available on a sliding scale based on income.

In Switzerland:

  • Employers do not pay for health insurance and individuals must buy coverage.
  • About 30 percent of the population receiving government subsidies.
  • There are 90 private market insurers, and the average monthly cost for a family of four is about $850.

Both countries spend less on health care than the United States does, says USA Today.  The Dutch spend 9.2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, while the Swiss spend 11.6 percent.  In contrast, the United States spends 16 percent.

Source: Julie Appleby, "U.S. health insurers suggest Swiss, Dutch as prototypes," USA Today, October 31, 2007.

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