The objective of this article is to analyse whether the increased reliance on marketisation in the provision of social care challenges the universality of eldercare in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. The study focuses on national reforms for contracting out and user choice of provider, analysing their consequences for four universalistic dimensions: (i) equal inclusion, (ii) public funding, (iii) public provision and (iv) comprehensive usage. The findings suggest that, although need-based inclusion and public funding remain key principles in all four countries, there is an increased reliance on private provision in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. In addition, the introduction of topping-up services challenges the dimension of comprehensive usage by enabling users with economic resources to turn to the private market to increase the comprehensiveness and quality of their care.
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