Commodification in the reforms of the German, French and British health systems

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Since the 1980s, European health systems have undergone several reforms, with emphasis on the tendency of their commodification. The objective of this article is to demonstrate how market mechanisms were implemented in the functioning of these systems, german, british and french – from the 1980s. The “mercantile” reforms were justified on the premise that the insertion of market logic could both reduce the need for public spending and increase the efficiency of existing expenditure. The work presents different forms of commodification implemented in the reforms, with the distinction between processes of explicit commodification, in which there is an effective increase in private, and implicit presence, in which there is incorporation of principles from the private sector in the public system, both in financing and in the provision of health services. In addition to detailing the different ways in which this phenomenon is expressed, the article briefly presents the potential negative effects of this process for health systems, especially in terms of access and equity, stating that the initial assumptions surrounding commodification (cost reduction and efficiency improvement) appear to be false.




Ferreira, M. R. J., & Mendes, A. N. (2018). Commodification in the reforms of the German, French and British health systems. Ciencia e Saude Coletiva, 23(7), 2159–2170.

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