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Is there a health-care problem in Western societies?

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  • Enrico Colombatto

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Abstract

The recent crisis in public finance that has characterized most Western countries has stoked renewed interest in the possibility of reducing government expenditure by reforming the health-care system. After reviewing the origins of today’s state intervention in this field, the present paper argues that policy-makers will certainly strive to contain health-care of expenditure. Yet, it also claims that unless the ideological context that has favoured the birth and development of the current systems undergoes significant transformation, reform in this area is bound to remain elusive. In particular, the myth of social justice and the concept of human dignity need to be reassessed. The outcome of this process will determine to which extent state intervention in the health sector will lose its rent-seeking connotations, while increasing attention will underscore critical phenomena to which the principle of individual responsibility offers only limited solutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico Colombatto, 2011. "Is there a health-care problem in Western societies?," ICER Working Papers 14-2011, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:14-2011
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    File URL: http://www.biblioecon.unito.it/biblioservizi/RePEc/icr/wp2011/ICERwp14-11.pdf
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    1. Louis Putterman & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 1998. "Does Egalitarianism Have a Future?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 861-902, June.
    2. Fleurbaey, Marc & Schokkaert, Erik, 2009. "Unfair inequalities in health and health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 73-90, January.
    3. Julian Le Grand, 2007. "Introduction to The Other Invisible Hand: Delivering Public Services through Choice and Competition," Introductory Chapters,in: The Other Invisible Hand: Delivering Public Services through Choice and Competition Princeton University Press.
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