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Do health sector reforms have their intended impacts?: The World Bank's Health VIII project in Gansu province, China

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  • Wagstaff, Adam
  • Yu, Shengchao

Abstract

The literature contains few impact evaluations of health sector reforms, especially those involving broad and simultaneous changes on both the demand and supply sides of the sector. This paper reports the results of a World Bank-funded health sector reform project in China known as Health VIII. On the supply-side, the project combined infrastructure investments (especially at the township level) with improved planning and management, including a referral system between township health centers and county hospitals, and interventions aimed at improving the effectiveness and quality of care, including the introduction of clinical protocols and essential drug lists. On the demand-side, the project sought to resurrect community health insurance, and to introduce a safety net for the very poor to provide them with financial assistance with their health care expenses. The evaluation reported here concerns just one of the project's seven provinces, namely Gansu, the reason being that no suitable data are available to undertake a rigorous evaluation in all provinces. This paper makes use of a panel dataset collected for quite another purpose but whose timing (just around the time the project started and four years later) and location (covering both project and non-project counties) makes it well-suited to the task. The paper compares estimates obtained using a variety of different estimators, including naïve single differences (before and after, and with and without the project), and differences-in-differences, adjusting for heterogeneity through both regression and matching methods. The results suggest that it makes a difference to the estimated impact of Health VIII which estimator is used, with the naïve single differences producing often markedly different estimates from the preferred approach of combining difference-in-differences with matching. The results further suggest that Health VIII has been mostly successful in its goals. The preferred estimator suggests that

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 505-535

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:26:y:2007:i:3:p:505-535

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Hong Wang & Winnie Yip & Licheng Zhang & William C. Hsiao, 2009. "The impact of rural mutual health care on health status: evaluation of a social experiment in rural China," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S2), pages S65-S82, July.
  2. Wagstaff, Adam & Lindelow, Magnus & Jun, Gao & Ling, Xu & Juncheng, Qian, 2009. "Extending health insurance to the rural population: An impact evaluation of China's new cooperative medical scheme," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-19, January.
  3. Galarrága, O & Sosa-Rubí, S. G & Salinas, A & Sesma, S, 2008. "The Impact of Universal Health Insurance on Catastrophic and Out-of-Pocket Health Expenditures in Mexico: a Model with an Endogoenous Treatment Variable," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 08/12, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. Liu, Hong & Gao, Song & Rizzo, John A., 2011. "The expansion of public health insurance and the demand for private health insurance in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 28-41, March.
  5. Wagstaff, Adam, 2007. "Health insurance for the poor : initial impacts of Vietnam's health care fund for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4134, The World Bank.
  6. Moreno-Serra, R & Smith, PC, 2013. "Towards an index of health coverage," Working Papers 10422, Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School.
  7. Liu, Hong & Fang, Hai & Zhao, Zhong, 2013. "Urban–rural disparities of child health and nutritional status in China from 1989 to 2006," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 294-309.
  8. Hou, Xiaohui & Chao, Shiyan, 2011. "Targeted or untargeted? The initial assessment of a targeted health insurance program for the poor in Georgia," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 278-285.
  9. Chen, Yuyu & Jin, Ginger Zhe, 2012. "Does health insurance coverage lead to better health and educational outcomes? Evidence from rural China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-14.
  10. Omar Galárraga & Sandra Sosa-Rubí & Aarón Salinas-Rodríguez & Sergio Sesma-Vázquez, 2010. "Health insurance for the poor: impact on catastrophic and out-of-pocket health expenditures in Mexico," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 11(5), pages 437-447, October.
  11. Johar, Meliyanni, 2009. "The impact of the Indonesian health card program: A matching estimator approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 35-53, January.
  12. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00826822 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Adam Wagstaff & Winnie Yip & Magnus Lindelow & William C. Hsiao, 2009. "China's health system and its reform: a review of recent studies," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S2), pages S7-S23, July.
  14. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Francesco Saraceno, 2008. "The Intergenerational Content of Social Spending: Health Care and Sustainable Growth in China," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-27, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).

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