Portuguese healthcare reforms in the context of crisis : external pressure or domestic choice?
Social policy & administration, 2019, Vol. 53, No. 7, pp. 1003-1017
ASENSIO, Maria, POPIC, Tamara, Portuguese healthcare reforms in the context of crisis : external pressure or domestic choice?, Social policy & administration, 2019, Vol. 53, No. 7, pp. 1003-1017 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/65993
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
As a result of the recent economic crisis, in 2011, Portugal signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund (the "Troika"). In exchange for Troika's financial assistance, the Memorandum required the implementation of a specific set of reforms targeted at the healthcare sector. The literature on policy reforms in the context of crisis and conditionality argues that governments have restricted room to manoeuver in responding to external pressure. We challenge this view, finding that even in cases of conditionality and strong external pressures, crisis can be used as a window of opportunity for reforms substantially shaped by domestic policy choices. In the case of Portuguese health reforms, these choices were based on pre-existing reform plans aimed on resolving country-specific deficiencies of the healthcare system and were enabled by the two main political parties' strategies of tacit cooperation and blame avoidance. The article emphasizes the need for more fine-grained analysis of welfare reforms in the crisis that pays equal attention to the institutional characteristics and the political context of the affected countries.
First published:10 January 2019
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/65993
Full-text via DOI: 10.1111/spol.12480
ISSN: 0144-5596; 1467-9515