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Gatekeeping in Health Care

Author

Listed:
  • Kurt R. Brekke
  • Robert Nuscheler
  • Odd Rune Straume

Abstract

We study the competitive effects of restricting direct access to secondary care by gatekeeping, focusing on the informational role of general practitioners (GPs). In the secondary care market there are two hospitals choosing quality and specialisation. Patients, who are ex ante uninformed, can consult a GP to receive an (imperfect) diagnosis and obtain information about the secondary care market. We show that hospital competition is amplified by higher GP attendance but dampened by improved diagnosing accuracy. Therefore, compulsory gatekeeping may result in excessive quality competition and too much specialisation, unless the mismatch costs and the diagnosing accuracy are sufficiently high. Second-best price regulation makes direct regulation of GP consultation redundant, but will generally not implement first-best.

Suggested Citation

  • Kurt R. Brekke & Robert Nuscheler & Odd Rune Straume, 2005. "Gatekeeping in Health Care," CESifo Working Paper Series 1552, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1552
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gatekeeping; imperfect information; quality competition; product differentiation; price regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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