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socialized medicine so·cial·ized medicine (sō'shə-līzd')
A system for providing medical and hospital care for all at a nominal cost by means of government regulation of health services and subsidies derived from taxation.
After a detailed examination by the World Health Organization (WHO) to assess the standards, responsiveness, and effectiveness of health systems in 191 countries, France was judged to have the best health care service in the world. The first-ever analysis of the world's health systems, published in the The World Health Report 2000, produced some surprising findings and revealed wide variations in performance. The United States, which spent more than any other nation on health care, was ranked 37th and trailed countries such as Colombia and Morocco, which had much lower levels of health spending. Italy, Spain, Oman, Austria, and Japan all captured spots in the top 10, whereas many African countries-dragged down by the high death rates caused by the AIDS epidemic-were among the poorest performers. The publication of the report came at a time when health systems around the world faced ever-increasing pressures. The triple effect of an aging population, which placed additional demands on health services; of medical advances, which produced new and usually more expensive drugs and treatments; and of a public with high expectations of what medicine could achieve-all combined to push up costs, particularly in the developed world