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Financing health services in Poland: new evidence on private expenditures

Listed author(s):
  • Mukesh Chawla

    (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA)

  • Peter Berman

    (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA)

  • Dorota Kawiorska

    (Academy of Economics, Cracow, Poland)

This paper estimates total expenditure on health care in Poland in 1994 and provides new evidence on high levels of private spending on health care. The analysis shows that health care expenditures in Poland are higher than has usually been maintained, and are comparable with the prevailing levels in many other European countries. Private expenditure on health is a significant proportion of total expenditure on health, and in particular on financing outpatient care. Available evidence indicates that informal payments made by patients to physicians contribute as much as double of the physician's salary, and thus form an important source of earnings for physicians. This situation of high private expenditures on health care and informal payments to physicians is likely to be true of other transitional economies of Central and Eastern Europe as well. One policy implication that emerges is these transitional economies face a big challenge in managing existing resources, as opposed to finding new resources, in the health sector more effectively to meet the health care needs of their population. The paper highlights the need for better understanding of the current availability and distribution of resources in the health sector and their directions of flow, in both public and private sectors, and suggests using tools such as National Health Accounts to track and monitor changes in the financing of the health care system. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 7 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 337-346

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:7:y:1998:i:4:p:337-346
DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1050(199806)7:4<337::AID-HEC340>3.0.CO;2-Z
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