Technological progress and the steadily increasing average age of the population are exerting pressure on the public health system. To guarantee that people will continue to have the right to basic health care in the future, costs must be reduced and failures in the system rectified. New incentives for cost-effectiveness and quality consciousness must be created and traditional health care structures scrutinized. For this study, the health sectors of eight countries (Denmark, Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States) were examined and compared. This publication attempts to break the deadlock in health policy discussions, and to find workable concepts for the future of the health care system.