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Classifying OECD Healthcare Systems: A Deductive Approach
This paper is a first attempt to classify 30 OECD healthcare systems according to a typology developed by Rothgang et al. (2005) and elaborated by Wendt et al. (2009). The typology follows a deductive approach. It distinguishes three core dimensions of the healthcare system: regulation, financing, and service provision. Moreover, three types of actors are identified based on long-standing concepts in social research: the state, societal actors, and market participants. Uniform or ideal-type combinations unfold if all dimensions are dominated by the same actor, either belonging to the state, society, or the market. Further, we argue, there is a hierarchical relationship between the dimensions of the healthcare system, led by regulation, followed by financing, and last service provision, where the superior dimension restricts the nature of the subordinate dimensions. This hierarchy limits the number of theoretically plausible healthcare system types within the logic of the deductive typology. The classification of 30 countries according to their most recent institutional setting results in five healthcare system types: the National Health Service, the National Health Insurance, the Social Health Insurance, the Etatist Social Health Insurance, and the Private Health System. Of particular relevance are the National Health Insurance and the Etatist Social Health Insurance both of which include countries that have often provoked caveats when allocated to a specific family of healthcare systems. Moreover, Slovenia stands out as a special case. The findings are discussed with respect to alternative taxonomies, explanatory factors for the position of single countries and most likely trends.
No. 165/2012
Katharina Böhm
Achim Schmid
Ralf Götze
Claudia Landwehr
Heinz Rothgang

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