Black World Studies Faculty Work


Is the Swedish Welfare State in Retreat? Current Trends in Swedish Health Care

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International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore, 14 years since the introduction of market reforms, the extent to which changes have altered the nature of Sweden's health care financing, examine how these changes have affected the views of Sweden's physicians, and to judge the impact of these reforms on the delivery and quality of care. Design/methodology/approach – Swedish physicians', Federation of County Council members' and health economists' views, were explored. The data were obtained from in‐depth interviews with 31 respondents in the summer of 2005. The sample was drawn from Stockholm County and the Skane Region. Findings – The respondents generally believed that the Swedish health care system basic structure had remained intact and that several early 1990s reforms, to introduce financial incentives into health care system, had worked well. The diagnostic‐related groups system, though not popular among some health care providers, seemed to have worked for the purposes intended. The majority of Swedish physicians interviewed expressed general satisfaction with their work. Several praised the internal reforms as contributing to more stable health care expenditures, which are low compared with other countries. A majority of respondents supported the care guarantee provisions. Originality/value – This paper points out that Sweden is showing what governments can do in a global society where access to health care is paramount. All Swedes can feel proud of a well‐planned health care system.



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