Belgium: health system review
AbstractThe Health Systems in Transition (HiT) profiles are country-based reports that provide a detailed description of a health system and of policy initiatives in progress or under development. HiTs examine different approaches to the organization, financing and delivery of health services and the role of the main actors in health systems; describe the institutional framework, process, content and implementation of health and health care policies; and highlight challenges and areas that require more in-depth analysis. The Belgian population enjoys good health and increasing life expectancy of 79.5 years (2004). Most Belgians have access to health care of high quality, financed mainly through social security contributions and taxation. Compulsory health insurance is combined with a mostly private system of health care delivery, based on independent medical practice, free choice of physician and predominantly fee-for-service payment. Although the Belgian health system has not undergone any major structural reforms since the 1980s, various measures have been taken mainly to improve the performance of the health system. Reform policy in recent years has included: hospital financing reform; the strengthening of primary care; restricting the supply of physicians; promoting generic substitution for pharmaceuticals; increasing the accountability of health care providers and sickness funds; tariff cuts; and more emphasis on quality of care, equity, evidence-based medicine, health care technology, benchmarking with financial consequences and economic evaluations. Among patients and health care consumers there is a high degree of subjective satisfaction with the system. However, there is concern about the significant remaining inequalities in health within the Belgian population, the rise in health care expenditure, the high numbers of health care providers and the limited importance which is attached to preventive health care and health education.
World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Corens, Dirk, Merkur, Sherry, Jemiai, Nadia. et al. (2007). Belgium: health system review. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/107825
Health Systems in Transition, vol. 9 (2)
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