Health Insurance in Switzerland: A Closer Look at a System Often Offered as a Model for the United States

A recent Google search on the words, “Switzerland health care system,” turned up three news reports in the first screen of results presenting Switzerland as a model for the United States. The common thread in these works was the idea that the Swiss system, which mandates that individuals choose their health care coverage from among the offerings of competing, private, not-for-profit insurers, might be more politically palatable in the United States than models with greater reliance on government-provided health insurance, such as Canada’s single-payer approach. A front page New York Times article headlined,

“Swiss Model for Health Care Thrives Without Public Option,” illustrates the way in which American commentators cast Switzerland in the role of counterweight to the Canadian example as a Congress sharply divided along partisan lines debated health care reform last autumn.

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