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The Norwegian Health Care System

Listed author(s):
  • Paul van den Noord
  • Terje Hagen
  • Tor Iversen

This paper examines the Norwegian health care system from an economic perspective. While acknowledging the excellent quality of services delivered by the Norwegian health care system, it identifies a number of problem areas, in particular: i) the long waiting lists for hospital admission and lack of medical staff; ii) the marked regional variation in per capita health care expenditure (which cannot be fully explained by demographic factors); and iii) the risks to cost control associated with soft budget constraints and collective wage bargaining of doctors. A series of recent reforms, most importantly a move from block grant to activity-based funding of hospitals, should provide incentives for raising efficiency in health care provision but also risk leading to “treatment inflation” ... Cet article examine le système norvégien de soins de santé d’un point de vue économique. La qualité excellente des services fournis par le système norvégien de soins de santé est reconnue, néanmoins l’article identifie un certain nombre de secteurs à problème, en particulier : i) les longues listes d’attente pour l’admission en hôpital et le manque de personnel médical ; ii) la forte disparité régionale dans les dépenses de soins de santé par habitant (qu’on ne peut pas expliquer totalement par des facteurs démographiques) ; iii) les risques liés à la maîtrise des coûts associés à des contraintes budgétaires faibles et les négociations salariales collectives des médecins. Plusieurs réformes récentes, la plus importante étant le remplacement des dotations globales par un système de financement en fonction de l’activité, devraient fournir des incitations pour accroître l’efficience des services fournis mais risquent aussi de conduire à une “inflation des traitements” ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 198.

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Date of creation: 26 May 1998
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:198-en
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