Health System Decentralization: Creating as Many Problems Than It Solves?; Comment on “The Effects of Health Sector Fiscal Decentralisation on Availability, Accessibility, and Utilisation of Healthcare Services: A Panel Data Analysis”

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.


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  • Receive Date: 02 June 2022
  • Revise Date: 20 September 2022
  • Accept Date: 28 September 2022
  • First Publish Date: 02 October 2022