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Can a Mixed Health Care System be Desirable on Equity Grounds?


  • Maurice March
  • Fred Schroyen


Should health care provision be public, private, or both? We consider this question in a setting where people differ in their earnings capacity and face some illness risk. We assume that illness reduces an individual's time endowment when waiting for treatment. Treatment can be obtained in a competitive private sector (through private insurance) or in the National Health Service (NHS) where it is provided free of charge but after some (endogenous) waiting time. The equilibrium in the health care sector consists of a waiting time in the NHS such that no patient wants to switch health care provider. This equilibrium is governed by two public policies: the income tax system and the size of the NHS. We find that: (i) a mixed system with a small NHS is never desirable; (ii) actuarially fair sickness insurance is never desirable either; (iii) a mixed system with a sufficiently large NHS may improve on a pure public system if the dispersion of earnings capacities is large enough; and (iv) the welfare gains from such a mixed system are not likely to be significant. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2005 .

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  • Maurice March & Fred Schroyen, 2005. "Can a Mixed Health Care System be Desirable on Equity Grounds?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 1-23, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:107:y:2005:i:1:p:1-23

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dixon, Huw & Siciliani, Luigi, 2009. "Waiting-time targets in the healthcare sector: How long are we waiting?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1081-1098, December.
    2. Kuhn, Michael & Nuscheler, Robert, 2011. "Optimal public provision of nursing homes and the role of information," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 795-810, July.
    3. Sharma, Anurag & Siciliani, Luigi & Harris, Anthony, 2013. "Waiting times and socioeconomic status: Does sample selection matter?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 659-667.
    4. Nuscheler, Robert & Roeder, Kerstin, 2013. "The political economy of long-term care," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 154-173.
    5. González, Paula & Macho-Stadler, Inés, 2013. "A theoretical approach to dual practice regulations in the health sector," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 66-87.
    6. Kurt R. Brekke & Lars Sørgard, 2007. "Public versus private health care in a national health service," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(6), pages 579-601.
    7. Gravelle, Hugh & Siciliani, Luigi, 2008. "Optimal quality, waits and charges in health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 663-674, May.
    8. Asheim, Geir B. & Emblem, Anne Wenche & Nilssen, Tore, 2010. "Health insurance: Medical treatment vs disability payment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 137-145, September.
    9. Buckley, Neil & Cuff, Katherine & Hurley, Jeremiah & Mestelman, Stuart & Thomas, Stephanie & Cameron, David, 2015. "Support for public provision of a private good with top-up and opt-out: A controlled laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 177-196.

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