Health System in Japan
The health-care system in Japan has been based on the Statutory Health Insurance System, consisting of more than 3,000 community-based and employment-based insurance plans with significan subsidies from the general budget. The system, supplemented by the Public Assisstance Program, covers the entire residents for most medical and dental services. The national government decides its benefit basket and prices of covered services and pharmaceuticals after nagotiations with providers and insurance organizations. Two-tierd local governments are involved in regulating the system, developing supplementary measures, and providing public health services. Patients are free to choose providers when they use health services. Physcians are not differentiated into general physicians and specialits: ambulatory care is provided both at clinics and at hosptital outpatient departments.With different mixes of providers in different regions, the government has been developing regional regulations. The system works fairly well: access to healthcare is good though financial and geographical barries have been occasionally reported, particularly in the era of increasing poverty. Mechanisms to monitor and regulate quality of care are becoming more important with increasing pressures on resources.
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