Chapter 8: A confused market: divergent routes to implementing market-oriented reform in healthcare
Many believe that the introduction of market mechanisms into healthcare will be beneficial. It could for example, reduce costs and help provide better service for the patient. However, others entertain views that are diametrically opposed to this. On both sides of the issue, opinions differ substantially on what it would mean if we were to rely more on market mechanisms. Not only do the images of the market differ, but they may also be at odds with each other. What is more, implementing elements of a market into a sphere such as healthcare is not straightforward. Different routes can be taken, as we explain, and some of these may not combine well. While we do not argue that the possibility of using market elements for healthcare is to be denounced (see Godlee 2006), we do argue that consequences of introducing market mechanisms are to be expected that are at odds with the goals pursued.
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