This paper considers health care finance in four Caribbean territories and plans for reform in comparison with developments in European countries, to which these territories are historically linked. European health care reforms are aimed at making resource allocation in health care more efficient and more responsive to consumer demands and preferences. These reforms in Europe have been continuing without appearing to have influenced the developments in the Caribbean very much, except in Martinique. In Trinidad and Tobago current reform entails delegation of responsibility for providing services to four regional health authorities and no purchaser/provider split at the regional or facility level as in the UK has been implemented. In the Bahamas, managed care arrangements are likely to emerge given the proximity of the United States. Recent universal coverage reform in Martinique was aimed at harmonisation of finance by bringing social security and social aid functions together under one management structure and may provide more opportunities for contracting and other initiatives towards greater efficiency. The first priority in Suriname is to restore proper functioning of the current system. Reforms in the four Caribbean territories have a largely administrative character and affect the organisation of the third party role in health care rather than fundamentally changing the relationship between this third party and the various other parties in health care.
Health Policy (2002) 62 (1) 103-113 [doi:10.1016/S0168-8510(01)00232-9]