Health insurance in developing countries: lessons from experience.
Many developing countries are currently considering the possibility of introducing compulsory health insurance schemes. One reason is to attract more resources to the health sector. If those who, together with their employers, can pay for their health services and are made to do so by insurance, the limited tax funds can be concentrated on providing services for fewer people and thus improve coverage and raise standards. A second reason is dissatisfaction with existing services in which staff motivation is poor, resources are not used to best advantage and patients are not treated with sufficient courtesy and respect. This article describes the historical experience of the developed countries in introducing and steadily expanding the coverage of health insurance, sets out the consensus which has developed about health insurance (at least in Western European countries) and describes the different forms which health insurance can take. The aim is to bring out the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches from this experience, to set out the options for developing countries and to give warnings about the dangers of some approaches. (+info)
The public/private mix and human resources for health.
This paper examines the general question of the public/private mix in health care, with special emphasis on its implications for human resources. After a brief conceptual exercise to clarify these terms, we place the problem of human resources in the context of the growing complexity of health systems. We next move to an analysis of potential policy alternatives. Unfortunately, a lot of the public/private debate has looked only at the pragmatic aspects of such alternatives. Each of them, however, reflects a specific set of values--an ideology--that must be made explicit. For this reason, we outline the value assumptions of the four major principles to allocate resources for health care: purchasing power, poverty, socially perceived priority, and citizenship. Finally, the last section discusses some of the policy options that health care systems face today, with respect to the combinations of public and private financing and delivery of services. The conclusion is that we need to move away from false dichotomies and dilemmas as we search for creative ways of combining the best of the state and the market in order to replace polarized with pluralistic systems. The paper is based on a fundamental premise: The way we deal with the question of the public/private mix will largely determine the shape of health care in the next century. (+info)
Donor funding for health reform in Africa: is non-project assistance the right prescription?
During the past 10 years, donors have recognized the need for major reforms to achieve sustainable development. Using non-project assistance they have attempted to leverage reforms by offering financing conditioned on the enactment of reform. The experience of USAID's health reform programmes in Niger and Nigeria suggest these programmes have proved more difficult to implement than expected. When a country has in place a high level of fiscal accountability and high institutional capacity, programmes of conditioned non-project assistance may be more effective in achieving reforms than traditional project assistance. However, when these elements are lacking, as they were in Niger, non-project assistance offers nothing inherently superior than traditional project assistance. Non-project assistance may be most effective for assisting the implementation of policy reforms adopted by the host government. (+info)
Overview: health financing reforms in Africa.(5/396)
Private payers of health care in Brazil: characteristics, costs and coverage.
The private sector is the predominant provider of health care in Brazil, particularly for inpatient services, and financing is a mix of public (through a prospective reimbursement system) and private. Roughly a quarter of the population has private insurance coverage, reflecting rapid growth in the past decade fuelled by the crisis in the public reimbursement system and the perceived deterioration of publicly provided care. Four major forms of insurance exist: (1) prepaid group practice; (2) medical cooperatives, physician owned and operated preferred provider organizations; (3) company health plans where employers ensure employee access to services under various types of arrangements from direct provision to purchasing of private services; and (4) health indemnity insurance. Each type of plan includes a wide variety of subplans from basic individual/family coverage to comprehensive executive coverage. The paper discusses the characteristics, costs and utilization patterns of all types of privately financed care, as well as the major problems associated with private financing: the limited package of benefits and low payout ceilings, inadequate consumer information and virtually no regulation. (+info)
Aid instruments and health systems development: an analysis of current practice.
There has been a clear shift in the policy of many donors in the health sector-away from discrete project assistance towards more broad-based sectoral support. This paper, based on interviews with officials in a number of bilateral and multilateral agencies, explores whether this shift in policy has been matched by similar changes in the form or range of aid instruments. The paper develops a framework for examining current practice in relation to the different objectives that donors seek to promote through technical and financial assistance. In particular, it looks in some detail at the advantages and disadvantages of budgetary support compared to more traditional forms of project assistance. It concludes that the debate should not be about whether one form of aid is better than another. Ideally, they should be complementary and the forms, channels and systems used for managing aid need to be assessed in relation to how they help to achieve the mix of development objectives that are most appropriate to the country concerned. The review demonstrates that this is a complex task and that to achieve an effective balance is not easy. The final section summarizes the main themes emerging from the discussion and suggests some preliminary conclusions and proposals for future action. (+info)
Gastroenterology research in the United Kingdom: funding sources and impact.
AIMS: To determine the sources of founding for UK gastroenterology research papers and the relative impact of papers funded by different groups and of unfunded ones. METHODS: UK gastroenterology papers from 1988-94 were selectively retrieved from the Science Citation Index by means of a specially constructed filter based on their title keywords and journal names. They were looked up in libraries to determine their funding sources and these, together with their numbers of authors, numbers of addresses, and research category (clinical/basic) were considered as input parameters to the research. Output parameters analysed were mean journal impact category, citation counts by papers, and the frequency of citation by a US patient. RESULTS: Gastroenterology papers comprise about 7% of all UK biomedical research and 46% of them have no acknowledged funding source. One quarter of the papers acknowledged government support, and a similar fraction a private, non-profit source; 11% were funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The papers acknowledging funding had significantly more impact than the others on all three measures. The citing patents had six times more UK inventors than the average for all US Patent and Trademark Office patents in the relevant classes and were mostly generic in application. CONCLUSION: The variation in impact of papers funded by different sources can mostly be explained by a simple model based on the input factors (numbers of funding bodies, numbers of authors, numbers of addresses, and research type). The national science base in gastroenterology is important for the underpinning of UK invented patents citing to it. (+info)