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Who’s going broke? Comparing growth in Public healthcare expenditure in Ten OECD Countries

  • Christian Hagist

    ()

    (Freiburg University)

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

    ()

    (Boston University)

Government healthcare expenditures have been growing much more rapidly than GDP in OECD countries. How much of this growth is due to demographic change versus increases in benefit levels (expenditures per person at a given age)? This paper answers this question for ten OECD countries –Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the U.S. using data from 1970-2002. Growth in benefit levels explains 89 of overall healthcare spending growth in the ten countries over the period, with Norway, Spain, and the U.S. recording the highest annual benefit growth rates. As we show, allowing government healthcare benefit levels to grow at historic rates is fraught with danger given the impending retirement of the baby boom generation.

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Article provided by IEF in its journal Hacienda Pública Española/Revista de Economía Pública.

Volume (Year): 188 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 55-72

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Handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2009:v:188:1:p:55-72
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  1. Peter Zweifel & Stefan Felder & Markus Meiers, 1999. "Ageing of population and health care expenditure: a red herring?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(6), pages 485-496.
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  6. Breyer, Friedrich & Felder, Stefan, 2006. "Life expectancy and health care expenditures: A new calculation for Germany using the costs of dying," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 178-186, January.
  7. Sally C. Stearns & Edward C. Norton, 2004. "Time to include time to death? The future of health care expenditure predictions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 315-327.
  8. Peter Zweifel, 2003. "Medical Innovation: A Challenge to Society and Insurance," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance, The International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics, vol. 28, pages 194-202, 04.
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