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Democratic transitions, health institutions, and financial protection in the emerging economies: insights from Asia

  • Eduardo J. Gómez (a1)

In recent years, several emerging economies have introduced national health insurance programs ensuring access to health care while offering financial protection from out-of-pocket and catastrophic expenses. Nevertheless, in several nations these expenses continue to increase. While recent research has emphasized the lack of funding, poor policy design and corruption as the main culprits, little is known about the politics of establishing federal regulatory agencies ensuring that state governments adhere to national insurance reimbursement and coverage procedures. This article fills in this lacuna by providing an alternative perspective, one that accounts for differences between nations in the creation of regulatory institutions, with an emphasis instead on governing elite strategies to campaign on access to health care during transitions to democracy, civil societal mobilization, constitutional constraints and the national electoral incentives to overcome ineffective decentralization processes. The cases of Indonesia and China are introduced as examples of how and why their differences in this political process accounted for Indonesia’s success and China’s failure to ensure financial protection.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Eduardo J. Gómez, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), School of Global Affairs, International Development Institute, King’s College London, Strand Campus, London, WC2R 2LS UK. Email:
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Health Economics, Policy and Law
  • ISSN: 1744-1331
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