THE IMPACT OF DIFFERENT PARTY SYSTEM CONFIGURATIONS
ON HEALTH CARE REFORM IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND GERMANY
The Labour Party in the United Kingdom (UK) continues to come under fire. The National Health Service (NHS) reform that has been carried since 1997 scroll reap endless wave of protests. The updated protests recorded on 10 November 2013, which criticized the amount of salary received by 428 very senior managers in the NHS. The salary has been blamed as one of the causes the NHS budget increased fourfold (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/10/nhs-super-managers-428-nurse-pay).
Similar conditions experienced by the Grand Coalition parties in Germany. They also faced a number of demonstrations against the health care reform plan launched by the government in 2005. However the debate could be alleviated with the approval of the Health Care Reform Bill in 2007 (Haverland & Stiller 2010, 437-438).
Health care is one of the important policies produced by the political parties because it involves the lives of many people (Hicks 2013, 207; Schmidt, 1996, 155; Dean, 1999, 1). Political parties as one of the main pillars of democracy, become the voice of the people. They formulate policies that reflect the health care reform constituency preferences (Picot 2013, 2; Mukherjee 2011, 601-602; Hicks 2013, 208; Katz and Crotty 2009, 161-163). According to Stokes (1999, 264), if the party represents of ideas dan the interests of constituents to the government, it will contribute to the creation of a quality democracy and justice for all people.
However, why the implementation and outcomes of health care reform in the field can be different? It cannot be separate from the configuration of the party system adopted by the UK and Germany. The UK adopted a two-party system, while Germany implements a multi-party system (Picot, 2013, 2). Structure of the party system is highly influential on the dynamic process of government formation and government work processes, including policy making. Indirectly, the configuration of the party system has a significant influence on the stability of the government (Alesina, 2001, 800; Budge & McDonald 2007, 168).
This article objective is to discuss the impact of party system configurations on health care reforms in the UK and Germany. Discussion is limited to the period during which the two countries launching active health care reforms, i.e the year 1997 to 2010. The hypothesis constructed is that multi-party system could produce public policy that represents all of constituent and more democratic.
The reseach falls into four sections. The first part briefly reviews the literature on party system. In second part, attention will be directed on the impact of two party system in health care reform in the United Kingdom. The reasearch then turns to the impact of multi-party system in health care reform in Germany. The last part provides concluding remarks.
LITERATURE REVIEW: PARTY SYSTEM