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[Essay] How history shaped the health system in Russia

The Russian health system retains the main characteristics of the Semashko model of medical care, as it was delivered in the Soviet Union.1,2 This model grants all citizens the right to free medical care, and its proclamation in 1918 marked the first example of universal coverage in the world. An extensive network of public medical facilities was created to ensure this right to medical care, but in actual fact, access to medical care was not equal for all citizens. Employees of priority industries, residents of large cities, and officials were treated in medical institutions with the best equipment and staff.

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