PurposeHealth Sector Evolution Plan (HSEP) is known as the biggest and most comprehensive reform in Iran’s health system. One of the goals of HSEP is to reduce inequity in the healthcare financing. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate HSEP agenda setting from the perspective of equity in healthcare financing (EHCF) using the multiple streams model.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative study was conducted by 26 documents review and analysis, and 30 semi-structured interview with Iranian key informants in the field of HSEP that were selected based on purposeful and snowball sampling method. Data were collected using a researcher-made checklist based on the goals. All audio-taped interviews were transcribed and analyzed thematically. Data management and analysis were performed using the framework analysis in MAXQDA software.FindingsThe framework analysis identified 12 complementary sub-themes totally. Problem stream included four sub-themes (high share of Out Of Pocket, high index of catastrophic health expenditures, low EHCF index, and inappropriate economic state and sanctions). Focus on EHCF in general policies of the Iran World Health Organization’s report in 2000, the Targeted Subsidies Law and emphasis on equalizing healthcare financing in the Fourth and Fifth Development Plan were considered as policy stream sub-themes. Finally, political stream showed four sub-themes including strong support from the Minister of Health for HSEP, mass media, the pressure of WHO and people’s request to reduce health costs.Research limitations/implicationsThe limitations of the present study included paying attention to one package (evolution in the treatment sector) of three health packages to assess EHCF, as well as the lack of similar national and international evidence in implementation framework.Practical implicationsThe results of this study can be used to analyze other health sector reforms around the word and can help the formulation and implementation of most practical reforms, especially in field of health system financing.Social implicationsThis study gives a holistic view about health system policy setting that can be used for understanding policy-making streams to population.Originality/valueThis is the first study that has examined HSEP (the biggest health sector reform in Iran) from the perspective of agenda setting. In addition, using the popular and well-known Kingdon’s model to explain HSEP agenda setting is one of the strengths of this study. Furthermore, taking advantage of a wide range of related views by including highly informed people increased the strength of the results of the study. In addition, the short interval between the interview and reviewing the results on reforms reduced the recall bias of the participants in the study.
International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 7, 2019
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