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Addressing government and market failures with payment incentives: Hospital reimbursement reform in Hainan, China


  • Yip, Winnie
  • Eggleston, Karen


This paper examines the role of provider payment policy as an instrument for addressing government and market failures and controlling costs in the health sector, particularly in developing countries. We empirically evaluate the impact of provider payment reform in Hainan province, China, on expenditures for different categories of services that had been subject to distorted prices under fee-for-service. Using a pre-post study design with a control group, we analyze two years of claims data to assess the impact of a January 1997 change to prospective payment for a sub-sample of the hospitals. This difference-in-difference empirical strategy allows us to isolate the supply-side payment reform effects from demand-side policy interventions. We find that prepayment is associated with a slower increase in spending on expensive drugs and high technology services, compared to fee-for-service. The fact that payment reform is associated with reduced growth in spending on the most expensive drugs is particularly encouraging, given that drugs account for a remarkably high percentage of both the level and growth of aggregate health expenditure in China. Payment reform can be an effective policy instrument for correcting market failures and adverse side effects of government health sector interventions (such as distorted prices to assure access to basic services), both of which can lead to excessive health care expenditure growth. Such health spending growth can have a particularly high opportunity cost for developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Yip, Winnie & Eggleston, Karen, 2004. "Addressing government and market failures with payment incentives: Hospital reimbursement reform in Hainan, China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 267-277, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:58:y:2004:i:2:p:267-277

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    Cited by:

    1. Faden, Laura & Vialle-Valentin, Catherine & Ross-Degnan, Dennis & Wagner, Anita, 2011. "Active pharmaceutical management strategies of health insurance systems to improve cost-effective use of medicines in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review of current evidence," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 134-143.
    2. Karen Eggleston & Chee-Ruey Hsieh, 2004. "Health Care Payment Incentives: A Comparative Analysis of Reforms in Taiwan, Korea and China," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0402, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    3. Ardeshir Sepehri & Sisira Sarma & Wayne Simpson, 2006. "Does non-profit health insurance reduce financial burden? Evidence from the Vietnam living standards survey panel," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 603-616.
    4. 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.
    5. 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 7-23, July.
    6. Wagstaff, Adam & Yu, Shengchao, 2007. "Do health sector reforms have their intended impacts?: The World Bank's Health VIII project in Gansu province, China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 505-535, May.
    7. Eggleston, Karen & Wang, Jian & Rao, Keqin, 2008. "From plan to market in the health sector?: China's experience," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5-6), pages 400-412.
    8. Yip, Winnie & Hsiao, William, 2009. "China's health care reform: A tentative assessment," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 613-619, December.
    9. repec:bla:glopol:v:8:y:2017:i::p:110-116 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chen, Chun & Dong, Weizhen & Shen, Jay J. & Cochran, Christopher & Wang, Ying & Hao, Mo, 2014. "Is the prescribing behavior of Chinese physicians driven by financial incentives?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 40-48.
    11. Winnie Yip & Karen Eggleston, 2001. "Provider payment reform in China: the case of hospital reimbursement in Hainan province," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 325-339.
    12. Sepehri, Ardeshir & Simpson, Wayne & Sarma, Sisira, 2006. "The influence of health insurance on hospital admission and length of stay--The case of Vietnam," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(7), pages 1757-1770, October.
    13. Nguyen, Ha Thi Hong & Bales, Sarah & Wagstaff, Adam & Dao, Huyen, 2013. "Getting incentives right : an impact evaluation of district hospital capitation payment in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6709, The World Bank.
    14. Li, Cheng & Yu, Xuan & Butler, James R.G. & Yiengprugsawan, Vasoontara & Yu, Min, 2011. "Moving towards universal health insurance in China: Performance, issues and lessons from Thailand," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 359-366, August.
    15. Jens Hougaard & Lars Ă˜sterdal & Yi Yu, 2011. "The Chinese healthcare system," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 1-13, January.
    16. Suwei Yuan & Yan Liu & Na Li & Yunting Zhang & Zhe Zhang & Jingjing Tao & Lizheng Shi & Hude Quan & Mingshan Lu & Jin Ma, 2014. "Impacts of Health Insurance Benefit Design on Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Use and Inpatient Costs among Patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction in Shanghai, China," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 265-275, March.


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