Norwegian priority guidelines: Estimating the distributional implications across age, gender and SES
Objective Targeting hospital treatment at patients with high priority would seem to be a natural policy response to the growing gap between what can be done and what can be financed in the specialist health care sector. The paper examines the distributional consequences of this policy.Method 450Â 000 elective patients are allocated to priority groups on the basis of medical guidelines developed by one of the regional health authorities in Norway. Probit models are estimated explaining priority status as a function of age, gender and socioeconomic status.Results Women and older people are overrepresented among patients with low priority. Conditional on age, women with low priority have lower income and less education than women with high priority. Among men below 50 years, patients with low priority have less education than patients with high priority.Conclusion Targeting hospital treatment at patients with high priority, though sensible from a pure medical perspective, may have undesirable distributional consequences.
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