Japan's health care system balances universal coverage at reasonable cost. The government has taken on the responsibility of acting as insurer and subsidizing health care spending for the employees of small enterprises and the self-employed. Despite the fee-for-service form of payment, costs have been contained by the use of a nationally uniform fee schedule that is mandatory for all providers. However, the increasingly affluent and aging population is making new demands on the system that can only be met by a major restructuring.
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