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Catastrophic health care, poverty, and impoverishment in the Philippines


  • Ronaldo D. Ico

    (University of the Philippines School of Economics)


The paper attempts to describe catastrophic health spending and its impact on poverty in the Philippine setting. It focuses on the role of out-of-pocket payments for health care as a springboard for measuring the magnitude and analysing the extent of damage of catastrophic health expenditures. It also explores the scope and trends of health spending in terms of different socioeconomic indicators. More important, it delves into trends over time and among different income groups. It also employs several quantifiable measures and tools in determining the extent and intensity of “catastrophic” incidence to determine its effects on poverty. Lastly it looks into the state of impoverishment after incurring these payments. The results indicate that, in general, households that belong to higher income groups are more vulnerable to catastrophic health spending, while households from lower-income groups are more prone to impoverishment.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronaldo D. Ico, 2008. "Catastrophic health care, poverty, and impoverishment in the Philippines," Philippine Review of Economics, University of the Philippines School of Economics and Philippine Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 109-126, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:phs:prejrn:v:45:y:2008:i:1:p:109-126

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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph J. Capuno & Aleli D. Kraft, 2010. "Household choices, circumstances and equity of access to basic health and education services in the Philippines," UP School of Economics Discussion Papers 201011, University of the Philippines School of Economics.

    More about this item


    catastrophic health payments; health care; poverty; impoverishment;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty


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