Timeline of universal healthcare

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This is a timeline of universal healthcare, focusing especially on first year implementation of universal healthcare policies in every adopting country.

Big picture

Time period Development summary
1800s Several European countries begin implementing some form of social insurance that would eventually evolve into a national health insurance program.[1] The first step is taken in Germany, when the government establishes The world's first national social health insurance system.
1912 < Era of universal healthcare adoption as state policy, beginning in Norway.[2]
Recent times Currently, most developed countries and an increasing number of developing countries provide access to some type of universal healthcare.

Full timeline

Brief explanation of healthcare system type:

  • Single Payer: Insurance is provided for all residents (or citizens) by the government, which pays all health care expenses except for copays and coinsurance. Providers may be public, private, or a combination of both.[3]
  • Two-Tier: Catastrophic or minimum insurance coverage is provided or mandated by the government for all residents (or citizens) while allowing the purchase of additional voluntary insurance or fee-for service care when desired.[3]
  • Insurance Mandate: All citizens are mandated by the government to purchase insurance, whether from private, public, or non-profit insurers. In some cases the insurer list is quite restrictive, while in others a healthy private market for insurance is simply regulated and standardized by the government. In this kind of system insurers are barred from rejecting sick individuals and individuals are required to purchase insurance, in order to prevent typical health care market failures from arising.[3]
Year Event type Details Present time system type (when aplicable) Country
1883 The world's first national social health insurance system originates in Germany with Otto Von Bismarck's Sickness Insurance Law, starting to implement compulsory sickness insurance program for workers.[1][4][5][6] Germany
1891 Healthcare begins taking effect in Sweden as a form of labor subsidized mutual benefit.[1] Sweden
1892 Healthcare begins taking effect in Denmark.[1] Denmark
1910 Healthcare begins taking effect in France.[1] France
1912 Healthcare begins taking effect in Switzerland.[1] Switzerland
1912 Policy Norway becomes the first country to adopt a universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Norway
1938 Policy Japan achieves universal healthcare. The National Health Insurance act is enacted, widening the coverage of public health insurance not only to farmers, but also to the general public not covered by the Health Insurance Law.[8][7] Single payer[3] Japan
1938 Policy New Zealand establishes universal healthcare.[7] Two Tier[3] New Zealand
1941 Policy The Third Reich institutes a universal healthcare system. Free for widows and orphans, the benefits are enjoyed only by "racial comrades".[9][7] Insurance Mandate[3] Germany
1945 Policy Belgium adopts universal healthcare policy, after introducing compulsory insurance.[10][7] Insurance Mandate[3] Belgium
1945 United States President Harry S. Truman proposes a national health insurance program. The Congress would not approve it.[11] United States
1948 (July 5) The National Health Service Act 1946 is launched in England, creating the National Health Service (NHS) that would provide the majority of healthcare in the country.[12][13][7] Single Payer[3] United Kingdom
1950 Policy Kuwait starts implementing free comprehensive healthcare to its citizens.[14][7][15] Single Payer[3] Kuwait
1954 Policy The government of North Vietnam establishes universal healthcare.[7][16] Vietnam
1955 Policy Sweden implements a universal healthcare system, nine year after the legislation was passed in 1946.[17][2][7] Single Payer[3] Sweden
1955 Policy North Korea establishes universal healthcare.[7] North Korea
1957 Policy Bahrain adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Bahrain
1958 Policy Brunei achieves universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Brunei
1966 Policy Andorra adopts universal healthcare.[2] Andorra
1966 Policy Universal healthcare is achieved in Canada, after the Parliament approves a publicly-funded healthcare system under the principle that access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on location, income, or wealth.[18][2][7] Single Payer[3] Canada
1966 Policy The Dutch Sickness Fund Act (Ziekenfondswet, ZFW) enters into force in the Netherlands, adding compulsory insurance for the whole population to cover severe medical risks.[19] This is the year the Netherlands is considered having adopted universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Two Tier[3] Netherlands
1967 Policy Austria adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Insurance Mandate[3] Austria
1970 Policy Comprehensive healthcare begins in Oman.[14] Oman
1971 Policy The United Arab Emirates adopt universal healthcare.[2][7] Single Payer[3] United Arab Emirates
1972 Policy Finland adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Finland
1972 Policy Slovenia establishes universal healthcare.[7] Single Payer[3] Slovenia
1973 Policy Denmark adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Two Tier Denmark
1973 Policy Luxemburg adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Insurance Mandate[3] Luxembourg
1974 Policy France adopts universal healthcare policy after law proclaims that the French National Health Insurance should be universal.[20][2][7] Two Tier[3] France
1975 Policy Australia adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Two Tier[3] Australia
1975 Policy Algeria establishes universal healthcare.[7] Algeria
1976 Policy After reunification of Vietnam, the universal healthcare system is extended to the South.[16] Vietnam
1977 Policy Ireland adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Two Tier[3] Ireland
1977 Policy South Korea passes law mandating health insurance for industrial workers.[15] South Korea
1978 Policy Italy adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Italy
1979 Policy Portugal's National Healthcare Service, known nationally as Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS) starts providing universal free healthcare nationwide.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Portugal
1980 Policy Cyprus adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Cyprus
1983 Policy Greece adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Insurance Mandate[3] Greece
1986 Policy Spain adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Spain
1988 Policy South Korea adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Insurance Mandate South Korea
1988 Policy Brazil establishes the Unified Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde), an approach to having free healthcare for all, a constitutional right.[7][15][21] Brazil
1990 Policy Iceland adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Single Payer[3] Iceland
1991 Policy Colombia establishes the right to healthcare within its constitution.[22] Colombia
1993 Policy Hong Kong adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Two Tier[3] Hong Kong
1993 Policy Colombia establishes universal healthcare.[7] Colombia
1993 Policy Singapore adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Two Tier[3] Singapore
1994 Policy Switzerland adopts universal healthcare policy.[2][7] Insurance Mandate[3] Switzerland
1994 Policy Moldova begins a mandatory health insurance program with the aim of providing the entire population with basic healthcare. Today, people who are unemployed or not working are insured by the government, while employed Moldovans chip in a portion of their income through a payroll tax or a flat-rate contribution.[23] Moldova
1995 Policy Israel passes National Health Insurance Law, setting out a system of universal healthcare.[7] Two Tier[3] Israel
1995 Policy Taiwan institutes its National Health Insurance (NHI). Taiwan
1999 Program launch Rwanda establishes a national health plan. Since then, healthcare insurance would extend to reach about 91% of the population, a greater percentage than the United States.[23][15] Rwanda
1999 Policy Venezuela establishes universal healthcare.[7] Venezuela
2000 Recognition The French healthcare system is ranked N° 1 by the World Health Organization.[20] France
2002 Policy Thailand introduces the "30-bhat scheme" (Less than US$ 1 at the time), a plan aimed at extending health coverage to all citizens. About 14 million previously uninsured people are added to the Thai system with this plan. According to a WHO report, prescription drugs, hospitalizations and services like chemotherapy, surgery and emergency care are free to patients.[23][7][15] Thailand
2005 Policy Chile establishes access aimed at all its citizens to a basic package guaranteeing treatments for up to 80 health problems, setting upper limits to waiting times and out-of-pocket payment for treatments.[22] Chile
2009 (April 10) Policy The Government of Peru publishes the Law on Health Insurance to enable all citizens access to quality health services.[24] Peru
2011 Policy China achieves universal health insurance with more than 95% of its population insured. This represents the largest expansion of insurance coverage in human history.[23] China
2012 Policy Mexico establishes universal healthcare.[7][25] Mexico
2014 Policy With the House of Representatives’s passage of the Democrats’ reform bill, the United States approaches universal health care, using an insurance mandate system.[26] Insurance Mandate[26] United States
2015 Policy All Qatari citizens and expatriates are expected to be covered by national health insurance.[14] Qatar
2016 Policy Argentina establishes universal healthcare.[7] Argentina

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Historical Foundation of Universal Healthcare". healthcarereformmagazine.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 "UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE AND TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL DIFFUSION PATTERNS" (PDF). utwente.nl. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 "Universal Coverage Is Not "Single Payer" Healthcare". forbes.com. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  4. "Bismarck and Beyond: the Beginnings of Social Health Insurance in Germany". wordpress.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  5. Leichter, Howard M. (1979). A comparative approach to policy analysis: health care policy in four nations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 121. ISBN 0-521-22648-1. The Sickness Insurance Law (1883). Eligibility. The Sickness Insurance Law came into effect in December 1884. It provided for compulsory participation by all industrial wage earners (i.e., manual laborers) in factories, ironworks, mines, shipbuilding yards, and similar workplaces. 
  6. Hennock, Ernest Peter (2007). The origin of the welfare state in England and Germany, 1850–1914: social policies compared. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-521-59212-3. 
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 7.26 7.27 7.28 7.29 7.30 7.31 7.32 7.33 7.34 7.35 7.36 7.37 7.38 7.39 7.40 "Countries With Universal Health Care". worldatlas.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  8. "Social Security in Japan 2014". ipss.go.jp. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  9. Kitchen, Martin. The Third Reich: Charisma and Community. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  10. Two Centuries of Solidarity: German, Belgian, and Dutch Social Health Care Insurance 1770-2008 (Karel-Peter Companje, Karel Veraghtert, Brigitte Widdershoven ed.). Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  11. "69 years ago, a president pitches his idea for national health care". pbs.org. Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  12. "National Health Service Act 1946". health.org.uk. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  13. Pharmaceutical Pricing, Reimbursement, and Prescribing in the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Joseph, Suad. "ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WOMEN AND ISLAMIC CULTURES". ucdavis.edu. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 "Where in the world can you get universal health care?". cnn.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "HEALTH CARE IN VIETNAM". factsanddetails.com. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  17. Shafrin, Jason. "The Development of Universal Health Care in Sweden". healthcare-economist.com. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  18. "Give Canada Universal Drug Coverage!". change.org. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  19. "Netherlands Health system review" (PDF). who.int. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Rodwin, Victor G. "The Health Care System Under French National Health Insurance: Lessons for Health Reform in the United States". PMC 1447687Freely accessible. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  21. "Brazil and its Struggle to Universal Healthcare". clarku.edu. Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Universal Healthcare on the rise in Latin America". worldbank.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 "Universal health insurance coverage for 1.3 billion people: What accounts for China's success?". sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  24. "Peru: Universal Health Insurance". loc.gov. Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  25. "Mexico achieves universal health coverage, enrolls 52.6 million people in less than a decade". harvard.edu. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 "List of Countries with Universal Healthcare". wordpress.com. Retrieved 17 November 2017.