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The key role of health insurance in a cost-effective health care system. Towards regulated competition in the Dutch medical market



The key role of health insurance in a cost-effective health care system. Towards regulated competition in the Dutch medical market



Health Policy 7(2): 253-272



The previous two sessions of this Symposium have dealt with incentives for cost-effective provider behaviour. Although incentive-reimbursement, which rewards the providers for delivery medical care in a cost-effective way, can be an important step towards a cost-effective health care system, it is not rewards the providers for delivering medical care in a cost-effective way, can be an important step towards a cost-effective health care system, it is not sufficient. As long as the insured consumers have both comprehensive health insurance coverage and freedom of choice of provider, providers will have great difficulty in resisting consumers' demand for ever more costly medical care, and politicians or other decision-makers will have great difficulty in restricting capacity and in preventing overcapacity. Fear of losing patients or voters might dominate. Therefore, in this session we shall focus on the key role of health insurance in a cost-effective health care system and on consumer incentives and insurer behaviour. If the consumers have a choice between several provider-insurer organizations. Although market forces do play an important role in a competitive health-care system, competition should not be confused with a "free market". Besides financial arrangements to protect the poor, pro-competitive regulation is needed to guarantee a "fair competition". Currently there is much consensus that the present Dutch health insurance system, in which 60% of the population is publicly insured and 40% is privately insured, should be replaced by a national health insurance scheme, which uniformly applies to the entire population. A few years ago, I made a proposal for such a scheme, which was based largely on the ideas of Ellwood, McClure, and Enthoven on competition between alternative delivery systems. The main features of this proposal will be discussed. In my opinion, the long-term prospects for regulated competition in the Dutch medical market seem rather favourable.

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Accession: 047672048

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PMID: 10312077

DOI: 10.1016/0168-8510(87)90036-4


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