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Health policy developments: reforms and effects of reforms in Europe

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Since the early 1990s, European health policy makers have put great stock in managed markets as a means of improving efficiency in healthcare. To date, these markets have had only limited success, although given the youth of some of these policy developments, ongoing assessment is warranted. It may be that the individualistic ethos underpinning the normal market mechanism does not sit well with the collective nature of most European healthcare systems. However, even if this is the case, attempts at introducing competitive incentives are not necessarily doomed to failure. By encouraging people to improve their own performance without directly undermining the circumstances of others, substantive performance improvements may be possible. Indeed, the US Veterans Health Administration (VHA), a collective healthcare system that introduced competitive incentives in the mid-1990s, over a five-year period experienced substantial improvements in process quality, rendering it arguably the best performing sector of US healthcare. European health policy makers may do well to take note.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22628/

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