Dreaming with two feet on the ground: Acupuncture in Cuba

Imagine a health care system that is universal, comprehensive, integrates alternative therapies, and provides care at no cost to the patient. Imagine that the practice of medicine does not involve a financial transaction between doctor and patient, hospital and patient, or clinic and patient. Imagine that medical training is free and that health care is not only considered a right, but a primary means of fostering the health and happiness of the community as a whole, as well as the individuals within it. This is medicine in Cuba. Often health is equated with wealth, but life expectancy rates in Cuba are comparable to those in the United States. High standards of health in Cuba contradict the assumption that a high Gross National Product is a prerequisite, but it appears necessary that the government prioritize health.