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Healthcare systems: Are markets the answer - Essay Example

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In this paper, I will evaluate if the use of markets and competition in health systems increase inequalities and weaken efficiency. First, I will introduce the two models for health care reforms, and then I will critically review both advantages and disadvantages. …
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Healthcare systems: Are markets the answer
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Download file to see previous pages Public policies and interventions are one the most important tasks for governments around the world. Health systems have been a critical topic for the past two centuries, since the adequate balance between health and illness is a prominent variable of social development, economic growth, and general welfare.
The Insurance theory states that the objectives of health insurance plans are to decrease financial risks, improve access to services, and create economies of scale. In Germany, Otto von Bismarck introduced a social insurance program in the 1880s, and this was the first approach to social security, where a health insurance plan was first provided for workers (Eurofund).
In the United Kingdom, William Beveridge wrote an influential report with several recommendations, based on which the National Health System was created in 1946. Musgrove (2000, p. 845) considers this system “the pioneer of universal, publicly financed health insurance”. Beveridge (1942) was convinced that the wages had to be “paid from a Social Insurance Fund, built up by contributions from the insured persons, from their employers, if any, and from the State”.
So, we disclose two different organization strategies for healthcare systems: a welfare system, where the public sector is responsible for offering health services, based in principles of universalism, social rights, and redistribution, among others; and insurance markets, supported by demand and supply laws, neoliberal policies, and efficiency principles.

Critics of market systems state that this model grew up with capitalism's technological and financial globalization, and that it was a result of the crisis of socialism and the welfare state, and model where the state provides a comprehensive and universal welfare for its citizens (Hernandez, 2001). Health care markets are not perfect and a free market is not possible. Enthoven (1988) was aware of this from the beginning of his managed competition alternative. The author acknowledges that "health plans and consumers may use strategies that lead to inequity and inefficiency".

The Social Risk Management theorists (Holzmann & Jorgensen, 2000) declare that public interventions should be established for aiding people, households, and community, for improving their risk management, and to provide support to those in extreme poverty. Policies derived from this model should avoid inequity and provide insurance plans to prevent, mitigate, and overcome times of great stress.

In Saudi Arabia, the healthcare system can be described as a national health system, in which the government provides health care services through a number of government agencies. The Ministry of Health is the major agency, and is responsible for the management, planning, financing, and regulating of the health care sector. It is apparent to various authors that, in order to achieve adequate health levels and contribute to social development, income growth is not enough.

In the Utilitarianism Theory, social groups seek for benefit maximization, at someone else's expense and jeopardy; as a result, health would not be improved in all society's members. Amartya Sen (2002) has stated that people's expenses in goods and services depend on their income, but ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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