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Norway is home to 4,481,000 people, a few more than live in the state of Louisiana (4,468,976). The infant mortality rate in Norway is 3.98 per 1,000 live births, and life expectancy at birth is at 75.73 years for men and 81.77 years for women. As usual, the results are all better than in the US.
The per capita GDP of Norway is on the high side for a European country at $25,100, within $8800 of the US figure. They spend 9.4% of that, or $2360 per person, about 54% of the US expenditure. It is high for a European country, but still close to half of our expenses.
Norway has had a single-payer national health insurance system since 1966. The National Insurance Act guaranteed citizens universal access to all forms of medical care. Norway's health system is funded by progressive income tax, and from block grants from central government, with 8.9% of GDP being spent on health care, and in 1998 the per capita expense was $2,425-US.
Patients are free to choose their own physician and hospital, however, registration with local GP's who act as gatekeeper, will begin in 2001. Patients are responsible for co-pays for some physician visits, approximately $15. Patients are also responsible for co-pays for prescription drugs, up to $216 per year. Once that level of expense has been reached, prescription drugs are covered at 100%. All hospital care is covered at 100%.
Hospital physicians have fixed salaries. GP's have either fixed salaries or fee-for-service agreements. All medical and nursing education is free.