Keywords: Health policy - Comparative public policy - Healthcare reforms - Western Europe
Over the last two decades, significant healthcare reforms have been undertaken in many Western European countries. In the early 1990s most of the countries which undertook healthcare reforms aimed to introduce greater competition between the components of the healthcare system. On the contrary, almost all of the reforms undertaken in the second half of the 1990s sought greater integration and regulation. From 2000 onwards, the more central issues have been the strengthening of patients' rights and freedom of choice. In addition to these policy trends, some countries have gone on with decentralisation measures, initially launched in the 1970s and 1980s. The case argued in this article is that national policy makers are often influenced and inspired by other countries' experience. Policy emulation is easier to occur between governments that share the same ideological orientation and between countries that adopt the same healthcare model.