Health Care Systems

When it comes to the health care system in the United States Blumenthal et al. (2020) identify four central challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic: Insurance coverage, financial losses for health care providers, substantial ethnic and racial disparities in health care, and a crisis in public health. To alleviate these they see the need for a policy reform, for strengthening the robustness of public health capacity, for securing finances, for expanding insurance coverage, and for systematically addressing inequities in health care.

However, also in Europe problems and inertia in health care systems became visible due to the pandemic. Italy, which early suffered from high infection and transmission rates, had a health care system that was chronically depleted by means of funding cuts, privatisations, and retrenched human and technical resources. Italian’s public health response was particularly weak due to policies that had resulted in short-sighted decentralisation and fragmentation (Armocida et al. 2020).