Access to primary health care and health outcomes: The relationships between GP characteristics and mortality rates
This paper analyses the impact of economic conditions and access to primary health care on health outcomes in Norway. Total mortality rates, grouped into four causes of death, were used as proxies for health, and the number of general practitioners (GPs) at the municipality level was used as the proxy for access to primary health care. Dynamic panel data models that allow for time persistence in mortality rates, incorporate municipal fixed effects, and treat both the number and types of GPs in a district as endogenous were estimated using municipality data from 1986 to 2001. We reject the significant relationship between mortality and the number of GPs per capita found in most previous studies. However, there is a significant effect of the composition of GPs, where an increase in the number of fee-for-service GPs reduces mortality rates when compared with GPs employed directly by the municipality.
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