At present, Italy’s healthcare system is financed through different measures, although it is primarily financed through general tax revenues (Maio & Manzoli, 2002, p.304). The National Health Fund (NHF) provides the major financing for public health care. The NHF is yearly apportioned to Italy’s twenty regions, which, in turn, distribute resources to the Local Health Agencies (LHAs). Donatini et al. (2001) cited several public and private revenue sources of Italy’s healthcare system: a regional tax on economic activities, general taxation, other regional taxes, users’ co-payments and private financing (p.35). By 1999, private financing sources already made up 33% of the total health care expenditure (Donatini et al., 2001, p.35). This created a more privatized form of healthcare financing, with increasing dependence on private providers and more out-of-pocket payments. Healthcare Administration For Italy, the primary healthcare institution is the Ministry of Health, which oversees the National Health Fund (Donatini et al., 2001, p.21). The National Health Fund provides financing for the national healthcare system. The Ministry of Health, via its departments and services, accomplishes five various roles: health care planning; health care financing; framework regulation; monitoring; and general governance of the National Institutes for Scientific Research (IRCCS – Istituti di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico) (Donatini et al., 2001, p.21). Furthermore, regional governments, through their related health departments, aim to follow the national objectives set by the National Health Plan at the regional level (Donatini et al., 2001, p.23). ...
Regional health departments are mandated to deliver the healthcare benefit package to the population through a system of local health units and public and private accredited hospitals and clinics (Donatini et al., 2001, p.23). Local health units are geographically-oriented organizations that assess healthcare needs and provide comprehensive care to local target populations (Donatini et al., 2001, p.25). Access and Inequality Issues It is hard to determine access and inequality issues in Italy, because its law states comprehensive healthcare coverage for all their citizens. Mostly likely then, the uninsured ones in both countries are the illegal immigrants, who have to pay for their healthcare expenses through their pockets. Italy aims for a comprehensive public healthcare insurance system but recent deregulation efforts increase private funding and out-of-pocket expenses. Italy has comparable healthcare indicators with Iceland (World Health Organization, 2011). Italy’s regional division of average immunization rates shows that total coverage is “higher in the north than the south” (Donatini et al., 2001, p.61). Furthermore, coverage rates percentage for compulsory vaccinations are better than the recommended ones (Donatini et al., 2001, p.61). For instance, the immunization for measles is 75% for Italy and 100% for Iceland (Donatini et al., 2001, p.62). Conclusion In terms of financing, Italy has a government-financing-dominated healthcare system. Increasing deregulation and privatization, however, increases private financing of the healthcare system. Access problems are based on location and socio-economic status. References Donatini, A., ...
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