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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2009): Healthcare - overseas

Entitled to health? Social protection in Chile's Plan AUGE

C. Dannreuther and J. Gideon

Development and Change, vol.39, 2008, p. 845-864

The Chilean Plan AUGE offers an explicit system of social guarantees in relation to healthcare for all citizens, regardless of their income level. This paper examines citizens' rights and entitlements in relation to healthcare in Chile in three different periods: the pre-Pinochet period (1930s to 1970s); the reforms of the Pinochet era (1979-1990); and finally the debate around the initiation of AUGE in the early 2000s. It seeks to demonstrate that the sources of gender bias underlying the new Plan AUGE were central to the conceptualisation of social rights in the regimes that preceded it, and that the reforms have reproduced these biases.

Heath care policies

L. Bartlette and I. Lawson (editors)

New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2008

This book is dedicated to the issues which drive and slowdown effective health care in the US, i.e., regulation or the lack thereof, litigation and related legal issues, genetic testing, and product safety especially in the ever-expanding problems with Chinese imports. It reports on new proposals to expand the availability and attractiveness of health savings accounts, which would slow down rising health care costs by enabling more consumers to play a more direct role in their health care decisions.

Healthcare services and the single EU market

L. Mountford and D. Dawson

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 14, 2008, p. 480-483

This article considers the impact of the European Commissions' 'Draft directive on the application of patient's rights in cross-border health care' on the health services of member states. Patients' entitlements to cross-border care under the draft directive are principally derived from the application of Article 49 of the EU Treaty referring to the free movement of services. The problem with applying this principle to healthcare is that it could undermine equal and cost-effective access to publicly funded health services within member states by allowing patients willing and able to travel to get preferential treatment.

HIV/AIDS: DfID's new strategy

International Development Committee

London: TSO, 2008 (House of Commons papers, session 2007/08: HC 1068)

The Department for International Development (DfID) is widely acknowledged as a global leader in tackling HIV/AIDS, particularly amongst vulnerable and marginalised groups, including women and children. Its new HIV/AIDS strategy Achieving Universal Access: the UK's strategy for halting and reversing the spread of HIV in the developing world provides an excellent analysis of the challenges faced in tackling HIV/AIDS effectively. It makes substantial financial commitments, most notably 6 billion over seven years to strengthen health systems in partner countries. DfID has also allocated 1 billion over the same period for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Despite these significant funding commitments, the IDC finds the strategy to be strong on rhetoric but weak in communicating how DfID will implement it. There are few measurable targets or indicators of how the strategy's effectiveness will be assessed. DfID fails to explain how the high-level funding commitments will be broken down by country or sector, making it difficult to understand how implementation will occur on the ground. The strategy is best seen as laying the foundations for a new UK approach to tackling HIV/AIDS in developing countries. The challenge remains for DfID to build on this and to make clear to all stakeholders, and particularly partner countries, how these plans will be taken forward. The overall aim of the strategy is universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care, but the target date for achieving this is only two years away in 2010.

Payments for health care and its effect on catastrophe and impoverishment: experience from the transition to universal coverage in Thailand

T. Somkotra and L.P.Lagrada

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 67, 2008, p. 2027-2035

Financial catastrophe occurs when individuals use a high percentage of their resources to pay for healthcare. This article explores the impact of the introduction of Universal Coverage in 2001 on out-of-pocket payments for healthcare in Thailand, using data from nationally representative socio-economic surveys from 2000 and 2004. Results show that the incidence and intensity of catastrophic payments for healthcare declined after the implementation of the Universal Coverage policy. The study provides evidence that Universal Coverage provides a valuable safety net and prevents family impoverishment due to out-of-pocket payments for healthcare.

The politics of global health governance: united by contagion

M. Zacher and T. Keefe

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008

AIDS, Ebola, SARS and malaria - the list of deadly infectious diseases that cause devastating losses of life and economic welfare is virtually endless. In recent years the fight against infectious diseases has become a catalyst for cooperation in a world that is truly united by contagion. To an unprecedented degree, governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, and private sector businesses are banding together to contain, control and, when possible, cure infectious diseases. This book examines the nature and politics of global cooperation to combat infectious diseases in a world more interconnected than at any point in history.

Swiss voters give boost to heroin on the NHS

J. Laurance

The Independent, Dec. 1st 2008, p. 12

Swiss voters have voted in a referendum to back a similar scheme to a pioneering British programme providing injectable heroin to drug addicts. The Swiss programme was launched in 1994 and the British scheme has been modelled on this with similar clinics also established in France, Germany and Canada. Drug experts in Britain have hailed the Swiss referendum result as an indication that long-term prescription of heroin to addicts could now be politically acceptable. The practice of giving addicts drugs on a maintenance basis, rather than weaning them off them, is one of the most controversial in medicine.

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