We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Universal Health Care?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Universal health care is a term that refers to a governmental system meant to ensure that every citizen or resident of a region has access to the required medical services. The methods through which payment is achieved, and through which doctors and other medical professionals practice medicine, vary widely depending on the country or municipality.

Health coverage was first achieved on a national level in Germany in the 1880s as part of a widespread system of reforms instituted by Otto von Bismarck. Germany’s early system had both employees and employers pay into a health care system, which was administered by local health bureaus. In the modern world, every wealthy industrialized nation, aside from the United States, offers some form of universal health care to its citizens.

One of the most socialized systems is the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom, which was established in the wake of World War II, in 1948. Every facet of medical care is covered entirely from tax revenues, so that patients need not pay at all, either into a general insurance fund or in direct fees to a medical provider. Medicines, meals, lodging, and services are all provided, as are incidental costs such as outpatient care and equipment. In the past, the NHS was criticized for offering a fairly low quality of health care, and for extended wait times for service. Since the late 1990s, the government has invested substantially more money in the NHS, modernizing it drastically and bringing it up to a par with the rest of Europe. The NHS has also begun to interact more heavily with the private sector, often outsourcing entire segments of health care to non-governmentally controlled interests.

Other systems of universal health care may have mandatory insurance for citizens as a way of providing medical services. Under a system like this, insurance rates are kept low through subsidies, but all people are required to buy into a system. This sort of flat fee helps reduce the funding tax burden, and in most cases, assistance is provided by the government for those who are not able to afford an insurance payment. Some systems may require employers to carry the bulk of the burden of paying for insurance, rather than the individual.

While universal health care is not an issue of much debate in many nations, in the last few years it has begun to face attacks in countries where it has long been an institution. Aging populations have in many cases placed a high burden on existing systems, and increased privatization throughout the world has led to factions pushing against system of public health care. Opponents often argue that, by keeping health care out of the free market, quality of service is reduced, wait times are increased, and freedom of choice is stifled.

In the United States, the issue of universal health care is highly politicized. As the only wealthy industrial nation without such a system of any sort, a number of political candidates and elected officials have made the institution of such a system a high priority. Proposals range from tax-funded systems along the lines of the UK model, to single-payer, mandatory insurance systems. As the issue becomes more mainstream, and the public becomes more informed, it will likely continue to become a hot button political issue, and to play a major role in future elections.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon301510 — On Nov 04, 2012

Thank you for your information! You did not have what I was looking for, but I have found some other valuable information that I could use!

By anon128146 — On Nov 18, 2010

The U.S. medicare is no longer for kids under 18. I am 16 and i do not have any type of health care! It is worsening by the year.

By anon121866 — On Oct 25, 2010

The UK system is not free. Everyone pays "national insurance" - health insurance which is paid to the government supposedly to improve the NHS. Which, by the way is in the worst shape now than it has ever been. Get your facts straight.

By anon114609 — On Sep 29, 2010

Universal health care works in countries such as Germany and the UK because:

1. patients have to pay nothing, all funds are provided by taxes.

2. The populations of the UK and Germany are so much smaller than that of the US, making their health care programs easier to manage and control.

By anon112093 — On Sep 19, 2010

If this health care is so good then why don't the politicians use it? Why don't we get rid of medicare and save the millions that it costs to run medicare. If by their own words we have to have medical insurance or pay a fine? Then I see know reason for us to have all the other federal supported insurances.

By anon89679 — On Jun 11, 2010

The German system is so much better than the UK one.

By anon55603 — On Dec 08, 2009

now there is no free health care for adults -- just kids under 18 years of age.

By malena — On Jan 20, 2008

Of those countries that have universal health care, are citizens _required_ to receive regular medical care (e.g., preventative care or annual physicals)?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.