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Measuring Disparities in Health Status and in Access and Use of Health Care in OECD Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Michael de Looper


  • Gaetan Lafortune


Registered author(s):

    Most OECD countries have endorsed as major policy objectives the reduction of inequalities in health status and the principle of adequate or equal access to health care based on need. These policy objectives require an evidence-based approach to measure progress. This paper assesses the availability and comparability of selected indicators of inequality in health status and in health care access and use across OECD countries, focussing on disparities among socioeconomic groups. These indicators are illustrated using national or cross-national data sources to stratify populations by income, education or occupation level. In each case, people in lower socioeconomic groups tend to have a higher rate of disease, disability and death, use less preventive and specialist health services than expected on the basis of their need, and for certain goods and services may be required to pay a proportionately higher share of their income to do so. Les politiques de santé dans la plupart des pays de l’OCDE ont comme objectifs majeurs la réduction des inégalités en matière de santé et le respect du principe d’un accès adéquat ou égal aux soins basé sur les besoins. Des données robustes et fiables sont nécessaires pour mesurer l’atteinte de ces objectifs politiques. Ce document de travail évalue la disponibilité et la comparabilité de certains indicateurs de l’inégalité de l’état de santé et de l’accès et de l’utilisation des soins dans les pays de l’OCDE, en se concentrant sur les disparités selon les groupes socio-économiques. Ces indicateurs sont illustrés à partir de sources de données nationales ou internationales qui permettent de distinguer les populations par niveau de revenu, d’éducation et d’emploi. Dans tous les cas, les personnes appartenant à des groupes socio-économiques désavantagés ont tendance à avoir des taux de morbidité, d’incapacité et de mortalité plus élevés, à utiliser moins de services préventifs et de soins spécialisés que ce à quoi on pourrait s’attendre sur la base de leurs besoins, et à payer une plus large part de leur revenu pour se procurer certains biens et services de santé.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Health Working Papers with number 43.

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    Date of creation: 09 Mar 2009
    Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaad:43-en
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