Economics and Financial Management in Health Sciences


In the most of the world’s countries government possess control the healthcare system. Government support of the system can take two different forms: mandatory coverage and mandatory cross-subsidies. In the UAE, the Ministry of Health and emirate-level authorities control the medical system. The government intervention in the health system is quite similar to the USA model.

The Economic Rationale for Government Intervention

In the majority of countries, it is the government that decides how the healthcare system should look and work. Governments establish either mandatory coverage or cross-subsidies to support the system. Among the economic rationales for a government to strengthen (or not) the system of mandatory cross-subsidies that provides the low-income or high-risk citizens with the access to healthcare services are the factors connected with the existence of externalities in the consumption of health care services, the risk for the consumers, and the moral hazard that usually follows excessive subsidization. The reasons for strengthening (or not) mandatory coverage are linked to the lack of caution in individuals, costly transaction services to manage cross-subsidies, and the problem of free riders (Paolucci, 2011, p. 31).

The Government Intervention in Health Care in the UAE

In the UAE, there are both public and private healthcare services. The federal and emirate organs regulating the public services are Ministry of Health, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the Emirates Health Authority, and the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA). The interaction of federal and emirate authorities sometimes remains unclear, overlapping in such questions as licensing and control (“Healthcare Regulation in the United Arab Emirates,” 2013, p. 1). The Ministry of Health issues federal laws related to the healthcare sector and administers the healthcare system of Northern Emirates. HAAD controls the medical system of Abu Dhabi; DHA operates the health services of Dubai; and SEHA is a joint stock government-owned company that administers public medical facilities (“Healthcare Regulation in the United Arab Emirates,” 2013, p. 2-3).

The Differences From Other Developed Countries

The healthcare of the United States is similar to the one of the UAE in being divided between private and government sectors (Ridic, Gleason, & Ridic, 2012, par. 24). In the USA, as well as in the UAE, individuals can choose either private or government-sponsored insurance (Ridic et al., 2012, par. 27). The structure of the control over the healthcare systems in both countries is somewhat similar due to the fact that both of them are federations. Unlike the UAE, the Canadian government is responsible for the universal national medical insurance program that covers the entire population and is financed trough taxes. At the same time, healthcare services are private (Ridic et al., 2012, par. 1). In some developed countries of Europe, such as Germany, providing the population with medical services is considered the duty of the government and not private institutions (Ridic et al., 2012, par. 1). In Singapore, similarly to the UAE, the primary control over the healthcare system belongs to the Ministry of Health. Singaporean government also ensures the population to fulfill social security savings. As well as in the UAE, Singaporean hospitals are partly government-owned (Bai, Li, Liu, & Shi, 2012, p. 1-2).


In the UAE, the healthcare system is operated by federal and emirate authorities. Medical facilities are divided between government and private sectors. Among the other developed countries, the USA has the most similar model of government intervention.


2013 update: Healthcare regulation in the United Arab Emirates. (2013). Web.

Bai Y., Li X., Liu F., & Shi C. (2012). Healthcare system in Singapore. Web.

Paolucci, F. (2011). Health care financing and insurance: options for design. London, UK: Springer.

Ridic, G., Gleason, S., & Ridic, O. (2012). Comparisons of health care systems in the United States, Germany, and Canada. Materia Socio-Medica, 24(2), 112-120.

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