In this paper we examine the goals and effects of health-care policy in the Netherlands over the period 1980-2000. During this period Dutch health-care policy is marked by a peculiar combination of increasingly stringent cost-containment policies alongside a persistent pursuit of market-oriented reforms. The main goal of cost containment was to keep labour costs down under the restriction of universal equal access to health care. Supply and price control policies were quite successful in achieving cost containment, but in due course prolonged quantity rationing began to jeopardise universal physical access to health services. The main goal of market-oriented health-care reforms is to increase the system's efficiency and its responsiveness to patient's needs, while maintaining equal access. The feasibility of the reforms crucially hinges on the realisation of adequate methods of risk adjustment, product classification and quality measurement, an appropriate consumer information system and an effective competition policy. Realising these preconditions requires a lengthy and cautious implementation process. Although considerable progress has been made in setting the appropriately stage for regulated competition in Dutch health care, the role of the market is still limited. Copyright

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Health Economics
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Schut, E., & van de Ven, W. (2005). Rationing and competition in the Dutch health-care system. Health Economics, 14(SUPPL. 1). doi:10.1002/hec.1036