International trade and health policy: Implications of the GATS for US healthcare reform [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 63 (4):313 - 332 (2006)
This paper examines the implications of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the World Trade Organization’s agreement governing trade in health-related services, for health policy and healthcare reform in the United States. The paper describes the nature and scope of US obligations under the GATS, the ways in which the trade agreement intersects with domestic health policy, and the institutional factors that mediate trade-offs between health and trade policy. The analysis suggests that the GATS provisions on market access, national treatment and domestic regulation, which are designed to eliminate ‘regulatory barriers’ to global trade in health services, limit the range of options that state and federal regulators and legislative bodies can employ to regulate the health sector and implement healthcare reforms. As such, the paper identifies the broader social and ethical implications of free trade policy.
Keywords healthcare reform  international trade  institutional barriers  social  ethical implications of global trade  GATS
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