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Germany strains to fund healthcare for all

Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2009

Germany's century-old universal healthcare system is a model cited by reform advocates in the U.S. Congress, but it is buckling under the weight of a growing deficit that has forced the government to explore an overhaul. Under the German system, everyone is obliged to pay into the system and all who need care can get it. Costs are shared between employers and workers, whose premiums are staggered according to income. Recently, however, the costs of the system have exploded: Rising medical costs and unemployment will leave the system $11.1 billion short in 2010. Germany's sinking birth rate and rapidly aging population mean the gap will only get worse, the Wall Street Journal reports.