The influence of fiscal rules on healthcare policy in the United States and the Netherlands

H. Christiaan Schakel, Patrick Jeurissen, Sherry Glied

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Governments use fiscal rules to put a framework and limits on how budgetary challenges are addressed, but the rules themselves are still an understudied area among health policy scholars. For a long time, healthcare held a somewhat separate status because of the reliance on entitlements and dedicated revenue streams. However, the combined forces of advocates for integral decision-making, central budget control and the increasing costs might shift healthcare towards budgetary frameworks that currently apply to other spending categories. In this paper, we study fiscal rules that the US and the Netherlands have adopted since 2010 and their impact on healthcare policy. Our analysis shows that fiscal rules can have an impact on the rationing of healthcare. In the studied timeframe, the rules seem to have more impact on budget outcomes than on the budget process itself. In addition, the convergence of fiscal and program policy objectives seems to be better accomplished in a budgetary system that applies enforceable budget ceilings. Budgeting for health entitlements requires a comprehensive and tailor-made approach and the composition of traditional rules might not fully answer to the complexities of healthcare policy. This paper aims to contribute to that debate and the way we think about healthcare budgeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-607
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Health Planning and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Budget rules
  • Comparative health systems
  • Fiscal rules
  • Health care budgeting
  • Medicare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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