This volume explores challenges that the global economic crisis has posed to health systems. It also asks whether the crisis has provided an opportunity for health care reform. For example, while some countries, such as Estonia, have drastically reduced their health care budgets, others, such as Austria and the United States, have responded with plans to boost public expenditure.
In spite of the worldwide crisis, one of the key assumptions of contemporary health policy debate remains: more competition will help produce systems where resources are used more efficiently. However, as governments seek to enhance market mechanisms in health systems, successful regulation is needed to facilitate those changes and avoid unintended consequences. To assess the effects of competition and regulation, as well as other reform approaches, systematic analysis is needed. Therefore, the book also focuses on health policy evaluation, as well as hospital care and its coordination with other sectors, prevention, and health inequalities.