Family Policy


This chapter analyzes structures, processes, and actors of health policy in Switzerland. In international comparison, Switzerland has a very well-developed health system with universal health insurance coverage and high-quality health care services. The regulation, financing and provision of health care are characterized by three features: federalism – an important role for subnational governments (cantons) –, liberalism – a high importance for economic freedom and individual responsibility – , and subsidiarity – the provision of services by the lowest level of government and non-state actors that are close to the recipients of services. Against this background, this chapter analyzes the politics of Swiss health policy in three steps. Firstly, the text discusses the different actors in the health system and underlines how they are important for health policymaking. Secondly, the chapter provides and historical overview of health policy reforms and outlines the development of institutions and policies related to health policymaking. Thirdly, the chapter discusses political factors that impact on health policy reforms in Switzerland. New national health policies and large encompassing reforms for the entire country are difficult to implement, due to the strong power of interest groups and voters, and, as the cantons have a strong autonomy in the implementation of health policy. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the challenges for Swiss health policy: rising costs and how to deal with them as well as the growing role of the federal government in national health policymaking.

The Oxford Handbook of Swiss Politics. Oxford University Press.
Reto Bürgisser
Reto Bürgisser
Postdoctoral Researcher

My research interests include political economy, comparative politics, and political behavior.