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Projecting health-care expenditure for Switzerland: further evidence against the 'red-herring' hypothesis

  • Colombier, Carsten
  • Weber, Werner

This paper contributes to the debate about the impact of population ageing on health care expenditure. Some health economists claim that the commonly presumed impact of population ageing is a "red herring". Based on empirical studies these authors conclude that proximity to death and not age per se matters. In projecting health care expenditure for Switzerland the present study provides evidence that proximity to death is of marginal importance. These projections suggest that population ageing is still the most important age-related cost-driver. Moreover, morbidity outweighs mortality as a factor of health-care expenditure. But most vital are non-demographic drivers such as medical progress. Thus, from the point of view of cost-benefit analysis one should even ignore costs of dying when projecting health care expenditure. Moreover, regressions might overestimate proximity to death due to systematic biases. Finally, ever-increasing health-care expenditure can be slowed down by appropriate policy measures.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/26747/1/MPRA_paper_26747.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 26747.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision: Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26747
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  1. Breyer, Friedrich & Felder, Stefan, 2006. "Life expectancy and health care expenditures: A new calculation for Germany using the costs of dying," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 178-186, January.
  2. Getzen, Thomas E., 2000. "Health care is an individual necessity and a national luxury: applying multilevel decision models to the analysis of health care expenditures," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 259-270, March.
  3. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2004. "The Value of Life and the Rise in Health Spending," NBER Working Papers 10737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dreger, C. & Reimers, H.E., 2005. "Health Care Expenditures in OECD Countries: A Panel Unit Root and Cointegration Analysis," International Journal of Applied Econometrics and Quantitative Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 2(2), pages 5-20.
  5. Hartwig, Jochen, 2008. "What drives health care expenditure?--Baumol's model of 'unbalanced growth' revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 603-623, May.
  6. Sally C. Stearns & Edward C. Norton, 2004. "Time to include time to death? The future of health care expenditure predictions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 315-327.
  7. Christian Salas & James P. Raftery, 2001. "Econometric issues in testing the age neutrality of health care expenditure," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(7), pages 669-671.
  8. W. M. T. Westerhout, 2006. "Does Ageing Call for a Reform of the Health Care Sector?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(1), pages 1-31, March.
  9. Peter S. Heller, 2007. "What Should Macroeconomists Know About Health Care Policy?," IMF Working Papers 07/13, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Peter Zweifel & Stefan Felder & Andreas Werblow, 2004. "Population Ageing and Health Care Expenditure: New Evidence on the "Red Herring"," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance, The International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 652-666, October.
  11. Andreas Werblow & Stefan Felder & Peter Zweifel, 2007. "Population ageing and health care expenditure: a school of 'red herrings'?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(10), pages 1109-1126.
  12. William C. Hsiao, 2000. "What Should Macroeconomists Know About Health Care Policy: A Primer," IMF Working Papers 00/136, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Peter Zweifel & Stefan Felder & Markus Meiers, 1999. "Ageing of population and health care expenditure: a red herring?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(6), pages 485-496.
  14. Oecd, 2006. "Projecting OECD Health and Long-Term Care Expenditures: What Are the Main Drivers?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 477, OECD Publishing.
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