Conclusion: Grains Among the Chaff — Rhetoric and Reality in Comparative Health Policy

  • James W. Björkman


The industrialised democracies of the world confront a complex dilemma. A seemingly insatiable demand for health care is outstripping supply, despite a relentless increase in the latter’s share of national budgets and family incomes. Yet there is little corresponding rise in general health indices, or even in human happiness about the quality of medical services. The inability of health services to deliver greater health for more money has ironically not blunted the public’s appetite for them; rather it has perversely increased it. Among the evident reasons for this paradox are that affluent humanity is less prepared than ever before to suffer minor ailments without drugs or other medical help; that demand for health care has been further stimulated both by new treatments for curable diseases and by expanded coverage throughout the poorer levels of society; that new cures for old diseases come with ever higher price tags for their sophisticated technology, so that much additional spending still saves few lives; and that the elderly, whose relative numbers in society are growing, require more routine medical care than the young. Clearly health services in the developed North are victims of their own successes.


Health Service Health Sector Medical Professional Discriminant Function Analysis American Political Science Association 
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© Christa Altenstetter and Stuart C. Haywood 1991

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  • James W. Björkman

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