In the future, user charges should play a much greater role in healthcare financing. Well-designed user charges would not just raise additional revenue, but would also limit unnecessary demand, encourage greater cost-effectiveness in the use of healthcare services, and promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles.
There is a lot that can be learned from successful international examples, such as Switzerland, where out-of-pocket payments from patients account for more than a quarter of total health expenditure. Deductibles, co-payments and reimbursement limits could all have a role to play, provided they are coupled with annual ceilings and exemptions for the low-paid.
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