Health Policy in the Market State

Health Policy in the Market State

Health Policy in the Market State

Health Policy in the Market State

Synopsis

"Introduces the major issues in health policy in Australia, setting them in the broader public policy context."

Excerpt

How can we best deliver health and health care in the 21st century? That is the central question addressed in these pages—a question that urgently confronts governments, academics, health professionals and ordinary citizens across the world.

In Australia and New Zealand, as in the UK and most other European countries, these questions have assumed an urgency at the turn of the century. There are many complex and interrelated reasons why this is so, but two are overarching. The first is that health care costs are rising and populations are aging, giving rise to worries that national economies will be unable to take the strain of running health care systems as a public concern. The second is that governments have been busy marketising public service delivery—introducing new dynamics into health care and new soul-searching into the policymaking arena.

Not all countries have travelled at the same pace, and to a certain extent we have been able to learn from each other. In the 1980s many looked to the USA for inspiration, wanting to find ways of turning rather sleepy and inflexible public services into more energetic, cost-effective systems. Trying to run health care as a business became intensely fashionable. It still is in some quarters. However, this fashion, like all others, is transient. The task now is to learn and act accordingly. What is valuable about the ‘market experience’?

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