Value-based purchasing is increasingly discussed in association with efforts to develop modern healthcare systems. These models are the most recent example of models derived from health economics research intended to reform collectively financed healthcare. Previous examples have ranged from creation of pseudo-markets to opening these markets for competition between publicly and privately owned enterprises. Most value-based purchasing models tend to ignore that health service provision in collectively financed settings is based on an insurance with political, social obligations attached that challenge the notion of free market and individualist premises which these models rest on. Central social issues related to healthcare in any modern complex society, such as inequality in service provision, can all too easily "disappear" in value-based reform efforts. Based on an analysis of Swedish policy development, we contend that management information systems need to be extended to allow routine monitoring of socioeconomic data when models such as value-based purchasing are introduced in collectively financed health services. The experiences from Sweden are important for health policy in Europe and other regions with collectively financed healthcare plans.
Keywords: collectively financed healthcare; health economy; health service administration; socioeconomic disparity; value-based models.