Council for Trade in Services HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES Background Note by the Secretariat S/C/W/50 18 September 1998 (98-3558)

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION S/C/W/50 18 September 1998 (98-3558) Council for Trade in Services HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES Background Note by the Secretariat I. INTRODUCTION 1. This Note forms part of the information exchange programme currently conducted by the Council for Trade in Services. Complementing similar Notes on other sectors, it gives an overview of recent economic and regulatory developments, including commitments under the GATS, in the medical, health and social services sectors. Delegations are recommended to read it in conjunction with more detailed studies issued by international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNCTAD, World Bank and OECD. 2. Many recent discussions of sectoral policy developments have focused on the need to curtail spiralling health care spending without sacrificing basic quality and equity goals. A particular concern for industrial countries has been the adverse impact of rising health care costs on the pursuit of other policy objectives related to growth, employment and/or public sector retrenchment. In many developing countries, the non-availability of basic services to large population segments, and the resulting social and developmental implications, have remained serious policy challenges

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