The promotion of private health insurance and the implications for the social organisation of healthcare: a case study of private sector obstetric practice in Chile

Susan Murray, Mary Ann Elston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines some of the implications of the process of privatisation of a national healthcare system for the delivery, organisation and, ultimately, the outcome of services. Through a case study of obstetric care in Chile, we illuminate the relationships between the macro-level of political decisions, the meso-level of the organisations through which government reforms were enacted, and the micro-level of clinical practice. We show that, for a significant proportion of Chilean women seeking maternity care, privatisation has led to expanded access and to ostensibly highly-personalised relationships with specialists. However, because of the fragmentation of maternity services, the altered work patterns for obstetricians occasioned by changes in healthcare financing and the relatively weak market position of most obstetricians, this personalised care is dependent on highly technologised obstetric practices. By examining the specific organisational arrangements under which private maternity care is conducted in Chile we shed light on the connection between privately-funded maternity care and high caesarean section rates in this setting
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701 - 721
Number of pages21
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005

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