Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Dr Volkan Yilmaz

Health Care Reform and Politics of Health Care in Turkey

Photo of Dr Volkan Yilmaz

Inspired by broader questions of the changing social bargain underpinning welfare systems in developing countries and the limits and possibilities of politics in enacting and implementing welfare reforms in these countries in the context of neo-liberalism, this research takes contemporary health care reform in Turkey as a case study to address these broader questions.

Turkish health system used to rely upon a combination of state-led health care finance and provision as in the case of welfare states of Western Europe but suffering from similar deficiencies in health insurance coverage and economic vulnerability of health system as in the case of developing countries. Transformation of Turkey’s health system started to become part of the welfare reform agenda after Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalk?nma Partisi) came to power in 2002 general elections. Since the launch of Transformation in Health Programme in 2003, health care reform has become central to public as well as academic debates on welfare in Turkey.

Against this background, this research aims to address the following questions by employing qualitative research methods: How and to what extent have the politics mattered in the contemporary health care reform process in Turkey? With the objective of addressing this question, this research will mainly focus on three selected policy domains (cases) within the current health care reform: the introduction of general health insurance, the integration of private hospitals into public insurance system as service providers, and the transformation of medical doctors into full time employees. For each of these cases, these two questions will be addressed: What kinds of political conflicts have arisen between these actors during the health care reform process? How and to what extent have these political conflicts been solved (or not solved)?

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