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Health financing reform is an inherently political process that alters the distribution of entitlements, responsibilities and resources across the health sector and beyond. As a result, changes in health financing policy affect a range of stakeholders and institutions in ways that can create political obstacles and tensions. As countries pursue health financing policies that support progress towards Universal Health Coverage, the analysis and management of these political concerns must be incorporated in reform processes. This article proposes an approach to political economy analysis to help policy makers develop more effective strategies for managing political challenges that arise in reform. Political economy analysis is used to assess the power and position of key political actors, as a way to develop strategies to change the political feasibility of desired reforms. Applying this approach to recent health financing reforms in Turkey and Mexico shows the importance of political economy factors in determining policy trajectories. In both cases, reform policies are analyzed according to the roles and positions of major categories of influential stakeholders: interest group politics, bureaucratic politics, budget politics, leadership politics, beneficiary politics, and external actor politics. The strategic responses to each political economy factor stress the connectedness of technical and political processes. Applying the approach to the two cases of Turkey and Mexico retrospectively shows its relevance for understanding reform experiences and its potential for helping decision makers manage reform processes prospectively. Moving forward, explicit political economy analysis can become an integral component of health financing reform processes to inform strategic responses and policy sequencing.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Health systems and reform
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An approach to health care financing with only one source of money for paying health care providers. The scope may be national (the Canadian System), state-wide, or community-based. The payer may be a governmental unit or other entity such as an insurance company. The proposed advantages include administrative simplicity for patients and providers, and resulting significant savings in overhead costs. (From Slee and Slee, Health Care Reform Terms, 1993, p106)
A field of study that examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services within communities, and the impact of these services on public health.
A center in the PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE which is primarily concerned with the collection, analysis, and dissemination of health statistics on vital events and health activities to reflect the health status of people, health needs, and health resources.
Innovation and improvement of the health care system by reappraisal, amendment of services, and removal of faults and abuses in providing and distributing health services to patients. It includes a re-alignment of health services and health insurance to maximum demographic elements (the unemployed, indigent, uninsured, elderly, inner cities, rural areas) with reference to coverage, hospitalization, pricing and cost containment, insurers' and employers' costs, pre-existing medical conditions, prescribed drugs, equipment, and services.
A strategy for purchasing health care in a manner which will obtain maximum value for the price for the purchasers of the health care and the recipients. The concept was developed primarily by Alain Enthoven of Stanford University and promulgated by the Jackson Hole Group. The strategy depends on sponsors for groups of the population to be insured. The sponsor, in some cases a health alliance, acts as an intermediary between the group and competing provider groups (accountable health plans). The competition is price-based among annual premiums for a defined, standardized benefit package. (From Slee and Slee, Health Care Reform Terms, 1993)
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