Switzerland is a prime example of a system very similar to thatbeing implemented through the Patient Protection and AffordableCare Act—and the elements that differentiate the Swiss system fromPPACA might point to where we're headed.

Insurance coverage in Switzerland is privatized and mandatoryfor all Swiss citizens, who can choose between nearly 100 differentprivate plans. The Swiss Federal Law on Compulsory Health Care,which dictates what must be covered, regulates the plans. Becausethere are so many to choose from, the prices for basic healthinsurance are affordable, and those who can't afford to buy healthinsurance because of low wages or unemployment receive subsidiesthey can use. About 99.5 percent of the Swiss population isinsured.

Carriers in Switzerland aren't permitted to deny coverage basedon age or pre-existing conditions—and they're also not allowed tomake a profit from sales of the basic, compulsory plans offered toeveryone. Carriers can, however, offer supplementary insuranceplans, which provide perks for those who choose to pay more for oneof these supplementary plans.

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