Document Type : Commentary
Department of Applied Economics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
This comment draws on the study by Rotulo et al about the effects of fiscal decentralization on access, utilization and availability of healthcare resources across Italian regions. We start by discussing the recent trends in health system decentralization worldwide, and then reflect on the rationale and main benefits and the key complexities and challenges of this much debated reform. We address these issues with reference to the recent experience of Italy as well as that of other comparable highly decentralized countries, most notably Spain, paying particular attention to their similarities and contrasts. We conclude that decentralization of health services poses complex challenges and trade-offs which may require careful design of equalisation mechanisms, framework regulation and efficient coordination mechanisms by central and sub central governments.