Globalizing Health Services: A Policy Imperative?

Terrie C Reeves


This paper’s thesis is that international trade agreements, U.S. health system characteristics, and global economic
conditions will lead to the globalization of health services. Drawing on political, economic, legal, and
globalization literatures, propositions about the impact of these domains on health services’ globalization are
advanced. The paper argues that U.S. health services are no less immune to globalization pressures than U.S.
manufacturing or other services without regard to trade agreements negotiations. Health services may actually be
more subject to globalization, but U.S. providers should not assume that gains from globalization will
necessarily accrue only to the US. The paper concludes with unanswered globalization questions, proposes a
possible arena in which U.S. health services would have comparative advantage on the world market, and
suggests that policy makers and trade negotiators understand the implications of trade agreement on U.S. health services.

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