Tuesday, 15 May 2012

open access book: Health Systems, Health, Wealth and Societal Well-being

Health Systems, Health, Wealth and Societal Well-being
Assessing the case for investing in health systems

Edited by Josep Figueras and Martin McKee

Get the pdf of book here.

From the introduction:

This book looks at health systems from a new perspective. It argues that they
are not, as is often believed, simply a drag on resources but rather are part
and parcel of improving health and achieving better economic growth. The
relationship between health systems, health and wealth is complex, but the
three are inextricably linked so that investing cost-effectively in health systems
can contribute to the ultimate goal of societal well-being (Figueras et al. 2009;
McKee et al. 2009).

The policy debate on health systems has been dominated in recent decades
by concerns about sustainability and the system’s ability to fund itself in the
face of growing cost pressures. More recently, the economic crises that have
affl icted some countries have added to these concerns. Health expenditure in
many European countries has been growing at a faster rate than the economy,
accounting for an increasing percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) and
creating unease about the costs falling upon industry and thus its competitiveness
in an increasingly globalized economy. Containing costs has, consequently,
become a major priority for most health systems in the World Health
Organization (WHO) European Region and beyond. Typically, policy-makers
have sought to fi nd a balanced combination of different strategies acting on
both the supply and demand sides of health services (Box 1.1).

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