A Historical View on Health Care: A New View on Austerity?

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It is an axiom of contemporary conversations about austerity and health care that the relationship between the two is essentially direct. Cutting funds damages health care systems and hurts the health of individuals who rely on them. Though this premise has provoked necessary discussion about global politics, the global economy and their impact on individual well-being, it is nonetheless intrinsically problematic. Assigning health and health care as objects of austerity not only obscures the complexity of health care systems and the opacity of health’s definitional borders, but also misunderstands austerity, its manifestations and its significance.
The ambition of this essay is to bring health care back into the debate, in order to establish the greater dynamism of the contemporary austerity and health care relationship. This historical reconstruction will challenge the significance of our current situating of austerity as health care’s bogeyman, press for a reconsideration of our contemporary definitions of the key factors involved here (health, health care and austerity) and finally conclude with some thoughts on how we might more productively approach the problem of health now.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Care Analysis
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2019


  • Austerity
  • Health
  • Health care
  • History


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