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Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network

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Belgium is home to 10.241,000 people, just 300,000 or so more than live in Michigan (9,938,444). Its infant mortality rate is 4.76 per 1,000 live births, and its life expectancy at birth is 74.47 years for men and 81.3 years for women. Infant mortality is significantly better than in the US; life expectancy, somewhat better.

Belgium's per capita GDP is $23,900, of which it spends 8.8% on health care, or $2103 per capita, less than half of what the US spends to get - it's becoming a familiar refrain - better results.

The Belgian health care system is funded primarily through sickness funds. Belgium's health insurance program operates at four distinct levels: the central government, national associations, federations of local societies, and local mutual aid societies. The general attitude in Belgium is that the pluralism of the health insurance system stimulates each local fund to work hard to attract and satisfy its members.

Patients have their free choice of any doctor. Primary care physicians are paid via fee-for-service, directly from the patient, or partially reimbursed, except with low-income patients who are exempt from pay. They are reimbursed with a negotiated fee, but extra billing is allowed. Specialists are paid via fee-for-service and are not restricted to hospitals.

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