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Health Care Expenditures and Longevity: Is there a Eubie Blake Effect?

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  • Friedrich Breyer
  • Normann Lorenz
  • Thomas Niebel

Abstract

It is still an open question whether increasing life expectancy as such is causing higher health care expenditures (HCE). According to the “red-herring”-hypothesis, the positive correlation between age and HCE is exclusively due to the fact that mortality rises with age and a large share of HCE is caused by proximity to death. As a consequence, rising longevity – through falling mortality rates – may even reduce HCE. However, a weakness of previous empirical studies is that they use cross-sectional evidence to make inferences on a development over time. In this paper we try to isolate the impact of rising longevity on the trend of HCE over time by using data for a pseudo-panel of German sickness fund members over the period 1997-2009. Using dynamic panel data models, we find that age, mortality rate and five-year survival rates have a positive impact on per-capita HCE. Our explanation for the last finding is that physicians treat patients more aggressively if they think the result will pay off for a longer time span, which we call “Eubie Blake effect”. A simulation on the basis of an official population forecast for Germany is used to isolate the effect of demographic ageing on real per-capita HCE over the next decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedrich Breyer & Normann Lorenz & Thomas Niebel, 2012. "Health Care Expenditures and Longevity: Is there a Eubie Blake Effect?," Research Papers in Economics 2012-01, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:trr:wpaper:201201
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    3. Stefan Felder, 2013. "The Impact of Demographic Change on Healthcare Expenditure," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(1), pages 03-06, 04.
    4. Böhm, Sebastian & Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "R&D-driven medical progess, health care costs, and the future of human longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 325, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Claudia Geue & Andrew Briggs & James Lewsey & Paula Lorgelly, 2014. "Population ageing and healthcare expenditure projections: new evidence from a time to death approach," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(8), pages 885-896, November.
    6. Kuhn, Michael & Frankovic, Ivan & Wrzaczek, Stefan, 2017. "Medical Progress, Demand for Health Care, and Economic Performance," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168249, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
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    9. Christian Bührer & Steffen Fetzer & Christian Hagist, 2017. "Das Hamburger Beihilfemodell - Ein Vergleich der internen Renditen von GKV und PKV," WHU Working Paper Series - Economics Group 17-06, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.
    10. Christian Bührer & Steffen Fetzer & Christian Hagist, 2017. "Cui bono? - Die Bürgerversicherung und die Beihilfe," WHU Working Paper Series - Economics Group 17-05, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.
    11. Frankovic, Ivan & Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan, 2016. "Medical care within an OLG economy with realistic demography," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 02/2016, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    12. Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens, 2015. "Steigende Zusatzbeiträge in der Gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung: Eintagsfliege oder Dauerbrenner?," Kiel Policy Brief 98, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    13. Øien Henning, 2013. "Do Local Governments Respond to (Perverse) Financial Incentives in Long-Term Care Funding Schemes?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 525-549, August.
    14. Maciej Lis, 2016. "Age or time-to-death – what drives health care expenditures? Panel data evidence from the OECD countries," IBS Working Papers 04/2016, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    15. Böhm, Sebastian & Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "The Future of Human Health, Longevity, and Health Costs," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168288, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Martin Karlsson & Florian Klohn, 2014. "Testing the red herring hypothesis on an aggregated level: ageing, time-to-death and care costs for older people in Sweden," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(5), pages 533-551, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    health care expenditures; ageing; longevity; 5-year survival rate;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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