Finland has a long tradition of supporting social programs that promote equality and the welfare state. The healthcare system is financed mainly by taxation. Everyone is insured against illness. Each of Finland's five provinces is run by a provincial government that monitors the provision of social welfare and health care. However, the municipalities actually provide the services and regulate medical equipment and regionalization of services. During the early 1990s, gross domestic product (GDP) fell dramatically, and healthcare expenditure rose to 9.4% of GDP. Due to the economy's rapid recovery, the share of healthcare expenditure has again decreased and now matches the average level of OECD countries of approximately 7.7%. The former Finnish method of central planning and norm setting has guaranteed a fairly uniform development of necessary services throughout the country and free or low-cost access. Tight central planning did not, however, create incentives to contain costs. Therefore, in the beginning of the 1990s, decision-making power was largely decentralized to the municipalities, and the principles of state subsidies were reformed. In 1995, the Finnish Office for Health Care Technology Assessment (FinOHTA) was set up as a new unit of the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES). FinOHTA is intended to function as a national central body for advancing HTA-related work in Finland, with the ultimate goal of promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of Finnish health care. At present, the importance of HTA is widely recognized in Finland, especially in the face of rising healthcare costs.