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Book description

The book assesses the policy actions of select Asian governments (China, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand) to address critical health system functions from a policy design perspective. The findings show that all governments in the region have made tremendous strides in focussing their attention on the core issues and, especially, the interactions among them. However, there is still insufficient appreciation of the usefulness of public hospitals and their efficient management. Similarly, some governments have not made sufficient efforts to establish an effective regulatory framework which is especially vital in systems with a large share of private providers and payers. A well-run public hospital system and an effective framework for regulating private providers are essential tools to support the governance, financing, and payment reforms underway in the six health systems studied in this book.


‘As the countries of Asia have been confronting the COVID pandemic, it is all the more important to understand their health policies, and the ways in which health services are delivered to the public. This book does an admirable job of first developing a design approach to health policy, then applying it to six major healthcare systems in the region. The book also demonstrates the utility of well-informed comparative policy analysis. This is a major contribution to health policy studies, but also to public policy studies.’

B. Guy Peters - Maurice Falk Professor of American Government, University of Pittsburgh

‘This book does an exceptional job of describing and explaining the reforms of six countries that are home to more than one third of the world’s population and also include three of the world’s top five health systems in terms of performance. It unpacks various policy tools and their use across these systems, making a compelling case for the importance of public ownership and financing of health care, given the appropriate governance structures. For those systems that incorporate private hospitals and financing, this analysis points to the crucial role of targeted regulation in assuring affordable care. It is a must-read for academics, policy makers and health service managers looking to better understand how to design health policy.’

Helen Dickinson - Professor of Public Service Research, University of New South Wales

‘In this year of global health crisis, understanding the performance of health systems has never been more important. It’s clear the world has much to learn from Asia in this regard. Ramesh and Bali’s application of a 'policy design' framework contributes new and up-to-date thinking in comparing the performance of key Asian health systems and understanding the how and why. It will be a valuable asset to citizens and policy makers seeking guidance for future improvements in population health and equity.’

Peter Berman - Professor of Health Policy, University of British Columbia

‘Health systems in Asia have been evolving rapidly in recent decades, providing a rich source of evidence on the various ways of addressing health system challenges. This fascinating book on the policy actions of six Asian governments in relation to universal health coverage draws valuable lessons on critical topics such as the importance of public hospitals, and the need for effective regulation.’

Anne Mills - Provost and Professor of Health Economics and Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

‘This timely and thoughtful book offers a new approach to understanding and addressing a key policy challenge for our age - universal health coverage. Adopting a policy design approach, the authors develop a robust framework for assessing health policy across a range of governmental systems, and identify critical areas for improvement. Their analysis offers important insights into the state of universal health coverage in Asia, and provides academics and policy makers with a replicable framework globally. A must-read for all those interested in health policy, public administration and comparative analysis.’

Helen Sullivan - Professor of Public Policy and Dean, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University

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