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The popular belief that “health is priceless” should continue with a warning: “but it has a high cost that has to be paid”. This book shows that we can improve our health if we rethink the way we pay for healthcare, and the role of prices in our healthcare decisions. Social policies must –and can– be evaluated. An intelligent government is one that is willing to modify its policies when they are shown to be ineffective in achieving the goals set. We have an inescapable need for more policies and less politics. Neither efficiency in health service use nor equity nor control over spending can rest solely on cost sharing, or indeed on any other single magic policy. Its effectiveness is enhanced when combined with other instruments and incentives. In fact, all European countries combine, in different doses and proportions, a whole array of instruments that affect the behaviour of the industry, prescribing physicians and patients.

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