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"Managed competition" for Ireland? The single versus multiple payer debate.A persistent feature of international health policy debate is whether a single-payer or multiple-payer system can offer superior performance. In Ireland, a major reform proposal is the introduction of 'managed competition' based on the recent reforms in the Netherlands, which would replace many functions of Ireland's public payer with a system of competing health insurers from 2016. This article debates whether Ireland meets the preconditions for effective managed competition, and whether the government should implement the reform according to its stated timeline. We support our arguments by discussing the functioning of the Dutch and Irish systems.