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2004 OECD Economic Surveys: Portugal 2004

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Portugal’s progress towards economic convergence with the rest of Europe has diminished in recent years, and in this 2004 review of Portugal’s economy, OECD recommends stepping up growth through policies that raise human capital, encourage the mobility of the labour force, and facilitate innovation and the diffusion of technological advances. Competition needs to be stiffer and the climate for doing business needs to be further improved. This edition’s special feature covers reform of the health care system.

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The Ongoing Reform of the Health Care System

The current Portuguese system providing health care and insurance was established in the second half of the 1970s, after the democratic revolution, as a response to very low health care coverage and poor health status of the population.85 The new system has succeeded in drastically improving the health status of the population and bringing it close to the European average in many respects in less than 30 years. Despite this success, numerous shortcomings remain, and the system faces strong pressures to adapt. In 1998, the OECD Economic Survey of Portugal assessed the system as “beset by serious inefficiencies and misallocation of resources”, identified the key challenges facing it and made various recommendations. A reform programme was initiated at that time, but it was short-lived. A new, more ambitious reform ...

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