Friday, April 28, 2006

The Swiss healthcare system - an alternative model

" The Swiss healthcare system - an alternative model: "Imagine an economist taking the place of a surgeon at an operating table. Such an inhumane experiment would undoubtedly result in a serious bodily harm for the patient. Now let us picture another experiment: a Ministry of Health managed by a physician. What would be the difference? The extent of the death toll. An economist at an operating-table would never be able to cause as many premature deaths as a doctor trying to handle the funding of health care without a basic knowledge of how markets work.

In many countries, common sense is not so common in the health-care finance. We should therefore look at the system used in a country where pragmatism means everything, and ideology means little: Switzerland. No health care system is perfect, but the Swiss one makes very few people complain. It is able to provide services to heads of state as well as the poorest, including immigrants from different countries, who make up about a fifth of the population.

What lesson should we take? Swiss common sense tells us that the market is the best solution for almost all areas of human activity, including the provision of health-care services. Public funding comes only when the private sector fails. What a difference when compared to the statist approach prevailing in Scandinavia, United Kingdom, Canada, Czech Republic and many other countries. Also, 'public' does not inevitably mean 'state'. Swiss health care is extremely decentralized. Switzerland does not have any Ministry of Health. Every canton and every self-governing administration unit is in charge of its own regulation, hospital accreditation, and funding. Thus, there are 26 slightly different systems in a country with a population of 7 million. A statist bureaucrat will immediately think of the chaos that must reign there. But an economist sees a different phenomenon: competition."

Different strokes for different folks - is this a replicable model ?

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