With the public accounts in a tailspin and the government trying to straighten things out, the French health care system will remain a key focus. There lurks a serious risk that government control could intensify. Sweden provides a cautionary example in this regard. Facing a crisis in its public finances in the early 1990s, Sweden decided instead to provide more room for the private sector.
The Swedish case also shows that, once a health care system comes under heavy government control, it is left to the mercy of shifting political majorities. Back-and-forth reform and counter-reform have been a source of regulatory insecurity for health care professionals, ultimately penalising patients through widespread waiting lists.