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NOT EVERY DEMOCRACY HAS CARE FOR ALL

The statement

"Every other democracy in the world has a health care system that covers everybody, and we don't."

Howard Dean, Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press

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The ruling: FALSE

Supporters of health care reform have often said health coverage in the United States lags behind other countries. On Sunday, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean said the United States should meet the standards of its international peers.

But is he right that the United States is the lone democracy not providing health care for all? No.

It is true that most, if not all, industrialized democracies in Western Europe have systems that experts consider universal coverage, as do wealthier countries such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. But other large democracies - including Mexico, India and Turkey - fall short, according to international statistics and a half-dozen experts we spoke with.

A number of other democratic countries have struggled with carrying out their stated promises to provide universal coverage. In South Africa and the Philippines, for instance, widespread poverty, insufficient health budgets and a shaky medical infrastructure - especially in rural areas - have posed steep challenges, experts say.

We called Dean to ask about his comment. A spokeswoman said that the former governor "simply misspoke. He meant to say, as he has for years, that every other industrialized democracy" has universal coverage.

If Dean had said that, he'd probably be right. But on Meet the Press, he didn't, so we rate his statement False.

This ruling has been edited for print. The full version is at PolitiFact.com.

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