Broadly speaking, health care systems across the world are funded in three different ways: by private contributions, social health insurance contributions or taxes. Social health insurance systems are characterized by the presence of sickness funds which usually receive a proportional contribution of their members' wages. With this insurance contributions these funds generally pay part medical costs of their members, to the extent that the services are included in the, sometimes nationally defined, benefit package. Otto von Bismarck was the first to make social health insurance mandatory on a national scale (in Germany), but social health insurance was already common for many centuries before among guilds mainly in continental Europe.
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