OECD Reviews of Health Systems: Switzerland 2006

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The Swiss population enjoys good health and universal access to a comprehensive range of modern health services, but policy makers are faced with considerable policy challenges, particularly to contain fast-growing health spending and improve value for money. This book analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Swiss health system. It weighs them against the key policy objectives of health-system effectiveness and responsiveness, access to care and equitable financing, efficient supply of services, and financial sustainability. The report assesses new proposals for reform of the health system and provides policy recommendations to help address current and upcoming challenges facing the Swiss authorities.

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Organisation of the Swiss Health System

This chapter describes the key characteristics of the Swiss health system. It identifies the main actors operating within the system and highlights their roles and relationships. Section 1.1 provides some background on salient features of Switzerland, its administrative/political structure, the characteristics of the population, and the social environment. Section 1.2 provides a brief overview of the size of the health system, and its importance within the Swiss economy. Next, in Section 1.3, the chapter focuses on governance, and the sharing of responsibilities for health policy development, and for implementation and provision. Section 1.4 explains arrangements for the financing of the health system, as well as those for the insurance coverage of the population. This is followed, in Section 1.5, by a description of the organisation of health service delivery and the relationship between providers and patients. A final section explains payment and contractual arrangements between providers and third-party payers.

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