From public vs. private to public/private mix in healthcare: Lessons from the Israeli and the Spanish cases

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11 Scopus citations


Background: Different forms of public/private mix have become a central mode of the privatization of healthcare, in both financing and provision. The present article compares the processes of these public/private amalgams in healthcare in Spain and Israel in order to better understand current developments in the privatization of healthcare. Main text: While in both Spain and Israel combinations between the public and the private sectors have become the main forms of privatization, the concrete institutional forms differ. In Spain, these institutional forms maintain relatively clear boundaries between the private and the public sectors. In Israel, the main forms of public/private mix have blurred such boundaries: nonprofit health funds sell private insurance; public nonprofit health funds own private for-profit hospitals; and public hospitals sell private services. Conclusions: Comparison of the processes of privatization of healthcare in Spain and Israel shows their variegated characters. It reveals the active role played by national and regional state apparatuses as initiators and supporters of healthcare reforms that have adopted different forms of public/private mix. While in Israel, until recently, these processes have been perceived as mainly technical, in Spain they have created deep political rifts within both the medical community and the public. The present article contains lessons each country can learn from the other, to be adapted in each one's local context: The failure of the Alzira model in Spain warns us of the problems of for-profit HMOs and the Israeli private private/public mix shows the risk of eroding trust in the public system, thus reinforcing market failures and inefficient medical systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 24 Jun 2020


  • Israel
  • Neoliberalism
  • Private/public mix
  • Privatization
  • Spain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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