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The Challenge of Financing Health Care in the Current Crisis: An Analysis Based on the OECD Data

Listed author(s):
  • Peter Scherer


  • Marion Devaux


Registered author(s):

    The ratio of health expenditure to GDP, which in macroeconomic terms is an indicator which summarises the financing needs of a national health system, is likely to rise in countries for which the GDP falls. Over the past four decades, health expenditure has risen in most countries at a faster rate than GDP, leading to a rise in the expenditure ratio. Fluctuations in this ratio can come about through fluctuations in either of its components. In some cases, notably the USA, GDP variation is the main origin of changes in the ratio, but in the majority of countries health expenditure variation is more important. The experience of countries which did reduce health expenditure after previous recessions suggests that such reductions are short-lived, and demand for health services results over time in a revival of health expenditure growth. La proportion des dépenses de santé par rapport au PIB, qui en termes macro-économiques est un indicateur récapitulant les besoins de financement d'un système de santé national, va probablement monter dans des pays où le PIB chute. Pendant les quatre dernières décennies, les dépenses de santé ont augmenté dans la plupart des pays plus rapidement que le PIB, menant à une hausse de la proportion des dépenses. Des fluctuations dans cette proportion peuvent survenir à la suite de variations dans l’une ou l’autre de ses composantes. Dans quelques cas, notamment aux États-Unis, la variation du PIB est à l'origine même de la différence du ratio, mais dans la majorité des pays, les variations de dépense de santé sont plus importantes. L'expérience des pays qui ont vraiment réduit leurs dépenses de santé après des récessions laisse à penser que de telles réductions sont de courte durée et que la demande de résultats en matière de services de la santé signifie à la longue une reprise de la croissance des dépenses de santé.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Health Working Papers with number 49.

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    Date of creation: 21 May 2010
    Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaad:49-en
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