Swiss and Dutch “consumer-driven health care”: Ideal model or reality?
This article addresses three topics. First, it reports on the international interest in the health care reforms of Switzerland and The Netherlands in the 1990s and early 2000s that operate under the label “managed competition” or “consumer-driven health care.” Second, the article reviews the behavior assumptions that make plausible the case for the model of “managed competition.” Third, it analyze the actual reform experience of Switzerland and Holland to assess to what extent they confirm the validity of those assumptions. The article concludes that there is a triple gap in understanding of those topics: a gap between the theoretical model of managed competition and the reforms as implemented in both Switzerland and The Netherlands; second, a gap between the expectations of policy-makers and the results of the reforms, and third, a gap between reform outcomes and the observations of external commentators that have embraced the reforms as the ultimate success of “consumer-driven health care.” The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of this “triple gap”.
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