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2012 Conference Presentation

(Inter)national systemsCare models CanadaUnited Kingdom

6 September 2012

Privatization and security in health care

Pat Armstrong, York University, Toronto, Canada
Hugh Armstrong, York University, Toronto, Canada
Krystal Kehoe MacLeod, York University, Toronto, Canada


With privatization, more and more of health care becomes a luxury good rather than a public good. In the process, access to health care becomes more precarious.

Using specific examples from the United Kingdom and Canada, and in particular from the long-term residential care sector, this paper explores three vital ways that the for-profit provision of health care undermines access to it. The paper asks: will the service be there; will we be individually or collectively able to pay for it; and will its quality be adversely affected. In exploring these questions, the paper links the increasing reliance on the for-profit provision of health care to two other forms of privatization: the shift of health care work to the household, where it is primarily and often invisibly undertaken by women, and the application of managerial practices drawn from the for-profit sector to health care.

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