Universal Health Care:

Effects on Military Systems in Other Countries and the United States

HEHS-94-182BR: Published: Jul 11, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on how universal health care has affected other countries' military health care systems and identified the implications of universal health care for the U.S. military health care system, focusing on: (1) the major similarities and differences between the U.S. military health care system and the systems of Australia, Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom; and (2) how eligibility for military health care in the four countries compares to that in the United States.

GAO found that: (1) the United States and the other countries operate similar military health care systems, but none of the countries has a separate benefits program that pays for certain beneficiaries' care; (2) Australia, Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom generally limit eligibility to active duty personnel; (3) the implementation of universal health care has had little impact on the other countries' military health care systems, since active duty personnel are ineligible or discouraged from using universal care when military health care facilities are located nearby; and (4) implementing universal health care in the United States could have a significant impact on the demand for military health care services, since retirees, dependents, and survivors would be allowed to enroll in a military health plan.

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