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The role of for-profit hospitals in medical expenditures: Evidence from aggregate data in China

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Author Info

  • Liu, Gordon G.
  • Li, Lin
  • Hou, Xiaohui
  • Xu, Judy
  • Hyslop, Daniel
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    Abstract

    The health care delivery system in China, which is dominated by state hospitals, is being increasingly challenged by public concerns: it is too expensive and too inaccessible, a complaint commonly phrased as "kai bin nan, kan bin gui" in Chinese. As the penetration of for-profit hospitals has gradually increased, there is a growing need for policy research to assess their impact on medical spending from the patient perspective. Using panel data at the provincial level in China, this paper examines the impact of the penetration of for-profit hospitals on average medical expenditures for both outpatient and inpatient services in public general hospitals. Based on fixed-effect model estimates, the study shows that the penetration of for-profit hospitals has lowered the average medical expenditures for both inpatient and outpatient services across regions, especially for pharmaceuticals. Together with other results, this study finds no evidence that private for-profit hospitals drive up average medical expenditures while serving their profit-maximization objectives. Rather, they help increase the market supply of health care, which in turn better serves the increasing demand.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 625-633

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:20:y:2009:i:4:p:625-633

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

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    Keywords: For-profit hospitals Medical expenditures Fixed-effect models China;

    References

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    1. Medhi Farsi & Massimo Filippini, 2006. "Effects of ownership, subsidization and teaching activities on hospital costs in Switzerland," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 0606, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    2. Eulália Dalmau-Atarrodona & Jaume Puig-Junoy, 1998. "Market Structure and Hospital Efficiency: Evaluating Potential Effects of Deregulation in a National Health Service," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 447-466, August.
    3. Yu-Chu Shen & Karen Eggleston & Joseph Lau & Christopher Schmid, 2005. "Hospital Ownership and Financial Performance: A Quantitative Research Review," NBER Working Papers 11662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Barro, Jason R. & Huckman, Robert S. & Kessler, Daniel P., 2006. "The effects of cardiac specialty hospitals on the cost and quality of medical care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 702-721, July.
    5. Karen Eggleston & Li Ling & Meng Qingyue & Magnus Lindelow & Adam Wagstaff, 2008. "Health service delivery in China: a literature review," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 149-165.
    6. Hou, Xiaohui & Coyne, Joseph, 2008. "The emergence of proprietary medical facilities in China," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 141-151, October.
    7. Karen Eggleston & Winnie Yip, 2004. "Hospital Competition under Regulated Prices: Application to Urban Health Sector Reforms in China," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 343-368, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hu, Hsin-Hui & Qi, Qinghui & Yang, Chih-Hai, 2012. "Analysis of hospital technical efficiency in China: Effect of health insurance reform," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 865-877.
    2. Pan, Jay & Liu, Gordon G. & Gao, Chen, 2013. "How does separating government regulatory and operational control of public hospitals matter to healthcare supply?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 1-14.

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