This book is intended for students interested in health policymaking. A key theme in the book is that health policymaking includes more than translating empirical knowledge about the determinants of health and disease into effective policy measures. A linear path from knowledge to health policy does not exist. Though undoubtedly of great importance, empirical knowledge on the determinants of life expectancy, quality of life, infant mortality, maternity death, health disparities, and other public health parameters is only one dimension of health policymaking. An instrumental view on health policymaking falls short because it neglects what may be called its political face. Health policymaking is not only a matter of applying empirical knowledge into practice but also the outcome of political contests, ideological beliefs, commercial interests, power, and institutionalized practices. The purpose of this book is to train students in analyzing the impact of these factors on health policymaking.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Maastricht University Press for generously supporting the publication of this book as an open access resource, making it freely available to all those interested in health policymaking. This accessibility will undoubtedly contribute to a wider and more informed discourse on this crucial subject.
The book results from many years of teaching health policy analysis or the analysis of and for health policymaking. It could not have been written without the enthusiastic input of all students I have met in my courses at Maastricht University. It is to them I dedicate this book. I also thank Arianne Elissen, Daan Westra, and Harm Lieverdink for their comments on an earlier version of the book.
Maastricht, August 2023
Prof. Hans Maarse is an emeritus professor of Health Policy Analysis at Maastricht University, with a background in Political Science from the Catholic University Nijmegen. He has published extensively on Health Policymaking and Market Reform in Dutch Health Care. Even after retirement, he remains actively involved in teaching Health Policy Analysis at University College Venlo.