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Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network

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Denmark, a small country, is home to 5,336,000 people, almost as many as live in the state of Wisconsin (5,363,675). Denmark's infant mortality rate is 5.11 per 1,000 live births, and its life expectancy at birth is 73.95 years for men; 79.27 years for women. The infant mortality rate is better than ours, but here, men live a quarter of a year longer, and women, half a year.

Denmark's GDP per capita is $23,800. Approximately 8.3% of GDP is spent on health care, making their expenses about $1975, or 45% of what we spend. The results are approximately the same, although Denmark spends half as much as we do.

Denmark has had a single-payer national health system since 1961. The Danish health care system is funded by progressive income taxes, and is publicly administered. Hospitals are run by the 14 counties and the City of Copenhagen. Physicians who work with the hospitals receive salaries, which are determined by negotiation between government and doctor's unions. GP's are 40% per capita fee, and 60% fee-for-service. Specialists are mostly fee-for-service. All medical and nursing education is free.

There is strong incentive for patients to choose a GP in their immediate area of residence. GP's will then make referrals to specialists. There are no co-pays for physician or hospital care, but patients do pay a share of drug costs - usually between 25 and 50%. Private insurance, held by approximately 27% of the population, is used mainly for medications and dental expenses.

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