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Can we afford to live longer in better health?

Author

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  • Ed Westerhout

    () (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Frank Pellikaan

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

Abstract

This document analyses the effects of ageing populations upon public finances. More specifically, it focuses on the implications of ageing for acute health care, long-term care, and public pension expenditure. It does so for 15 EU countries. It pays particular attention to three novel insights: (i) a large part of health care spending relates to time to death rather than to age: (ii) life expectancy may increase much faster than current demographic projections suggest, and (iii) the average health status may continue to improve in the future. It adopts a generational accounting model that incorporates health care costs during the last years of life, decomposed into an acute health care component and a long-term care component. The projections show that gains in life expectancy increase age-related expenditure; better health has the opposite effect. Combined, these trends reduce health care expenditure and increase pension expenditure. Their joint effect upon public finance is rather modest, however. Hence, the assessment of public finances in most EU15 countries does not change: even if a faster increase in life expectancy should combine with an improvement in health, current fiscal and social security institutions are unsustainable.

Suggested Citation

  • Ed Westerhout & Frank Pellikaan, 2005. "Can we afford to live longer in better health?," CPB Document 85, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:docmnt:85
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ivonne Honekamp & Daniel Possenriede, 2008. "Redistributive effects in public health care financing," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 9(4), pages 405-416, November.
    2. Hostenkamp, Gisela & Stolpe, Michael, 2008. "Optimal health and retirement policies amid population aging," Kiel Working Papers 1428, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Casper van Ewijk & Nick Draper & Harry ter Rele & Ed Westerhout, 2006. "Ageing and the sustainability of Dutch public finances," CPB Special Publication 61, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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