Departmento de Saúde Púbica, Núcleo de Apoio à Municipalização e Implementação do SUS em Santa Catarina, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC 88040-970, Brasil. email@example.com
This paper analyzes recent changes in the Canadian health system through a case study of Quebec. As the last Province to adopt federal principles of universal coverage, comprehensiveness, and public management, its reform, conducted in 1971, met these objectives by means of key innovations. In the 1980s and early 90s, a process of health services evaluation in this Province and in Canada as a whole launched a period of extensive changes. The relevant measures are described herein: decentralization and regional management, "clinical shift", selective reduction in the supply of services, and new mechanisms for resource allocation and social control. There is a tendency towards an environment of public competition, but the approach that was adopted for regulation does not correspond to the main models from central countries. Within a scenario of budget constraints, technocratically-defined measures allowed for the settlement of benefits, preserving the system's main guidelines. This evidence is one of the main contributions of comparative analysis to health system reform in peripheral countries. The study identifies the relationships between these measures and a worldwide trend towards cost control and macroeconomic adjustment policies, discussing the relevant implications for health services.