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The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Impact of Universal Primary Healthcare Provision on Mortality Rates in Turkey

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  • Resul Cesur
  • Pınar Mine Güneş
  • Erdal Tekin
  • Aydogan Ulker

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of universal, free, and easily accessible primary healthcare on population health as measured by age-specific mortality rates, focusing on a nationwide socialized medicine program implemented in Turkey. The Family Medicine Program (FMP), launched in 2005, assigns each Turkish citizen to a specific state-employed family physician who offers a wide range of primary healthcare services that are free-of-charge. Furthermore, these services are provided at family health centers, which operate on a walk-in basis and are located within the neighborhoods in close proximity to the patients. To identify the causal impact of the FMP, we exploit the variation in its introduction across provinces and over time. Our estimates indicate that the FMP caused the mortality rate to decrease by 25.6% among infants, 7.7% among the elderly, and 22.9% among children ages 1-4. These estimates translate into 2.6, 1.29, and 0.13 fewer deaths among infants, the elderly, and children ages 1-4, respectively. Furthermore, the effects appear to strengthen over time. We also show evidence to suggest that the FMP has contributed to an equalization of mortality across provinces. Finally, our calculations indicate that each family physician saves about 0.15, 0.46, and 0.005 lives among infants, the elderly, and children ages 1- 4 per province every year.

Suggested Citation

  • Resul Cesur & Pınar Mine Güneş & Erdal Tekin & Aydogan Ulker, 2015. "The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Impact of Universal Primary Healthcare Provision on Mortality Rates in Turkey," NBER Working Papers 21510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21510
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jhecon:v:59:y:2018:i:c:p:91-108 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bahadir Dursun & Resul Cesur & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2017. "The Value of Mandating Maternal Education in a Developing Country," NBER Working Papers 23492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gabriella Conti & Rita Ginja, 2017. "Who benefits from free health insurance: evidence from Mexico," IFS Working Papers W17/26, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Duha T. Altindag & Elif S. Filiz & Erdal Tekin, 2017. "Does It Matter How and How Much Politicians are Paid?," NBER Working Papers 23613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Cesur, Resul & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2018. "Can natural gas save lives? Evidence from the deployment of a fuel delivery system in a developing country," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 91-108.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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