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Do health sector reforms have their intended impacts ? The World Bank's Health VIII project in Gansu province, China

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  • Wagstaff, Adam
  • Yu, Shengchao

Abstract

The literature contains few impact evaluations of health sector reforms, especially those involving broad and simultaneous changes on both the demand and supply sides of the sector. This paper reports the results of a World Bank-funded health sector reform project in China known as Health VIII. On the supply-side, the project combined infrastructure investments (especially at the township level) with improved planning and management, including a referral system between township health centers and county hospitals, and interventions aimed at improving the effectiveness and quality of care, including the introduction of clinical protocols and essential drug lists. On the demand-side, the project sought to resurrect community health insurance, and to introduce a safety net for the very poor to provide them with financial assistance with their health care expenses. The evaluation reported here concerns just one of the project's seven provinces, namely Gansu, the reason being that no suitable data are available to undertake a rigorous evaluation in all provinces. This paper makes use of a panel dataset collected for quite another purpose but whose timing (just around the time the project started and four years later) and location (covering both project and non-project counties) makes it well-suited to the task. The paper compares estimates obtained using a variety of different estimators, including naïve single differences (before and after, and with and without the project), and differences-in-differences, adjusting for heterogeneity through both regression and matching methods. The results suggest that it makes a difference to the estimated impact of Health VIII which estimator is used, with the naïve single differences producing often markedly different estimates from the preferred approach of combining difference-in-differences with matching. The results further suggest that Health VIII has been mostly successful in its goals. The preferred estimator suggests that the project reduced illness among children, improved self-assessed health, and increased doctor visits among the population in general, and reduced the incidence of catastrophic health spending, defined as annual spending in excess of 10 percent of annual per capita income. But the project appears to have increased the development and use of high-level facilities, hastened the demise of the village clinic, and may have reduced immunization rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Wagstaff, Adam & Yu, Shengchao, 2005. "Do health sector reforms have their intended impacts ? The World Bank's Health VIII project in Gansu province, China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3743, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3743
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    Cited by:

    1. Laurène PETITFOUR & Xiezhe HUANGFU & Martine AUDIBERT & Jacky MATHONNAT, 2017. "Efficiency of township hospitals in China in the context of the drug policy reform: Progress should not get bogged in midstream - A case study from a survey in Weifang prefecture," Working Papers P185, FERDI.
    2. Hong Wang & Winnie Yip & Licheng Zhang & William C. Hsiao, 2009. "The impact of rural mutual health care on health status: evaluation of a social experiment in rural China," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S2), pages 65-82, July.
    3. repec:eee:socmed:v:190:y:2017:i:c:p:11-19 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Moreno-Serra, R & Smith, PC, 2012. "Towards an index of health coverage," Working Papers 10422, Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School.
    5. Cheung, Diana & Padieu, Ysaline, 2015. "Heterogeneity of the Effects of Health Insurance on Household Savings: Evidence from Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 84-103.
    6. Liu, Hong & Gao, Song & Rizzo, John A., 2011. "The expansion of public health insurance and the demand for private health insurance in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 28-41, March.
    7. Adam Wagstaff & Winnie Yip & Magnus Lindelow & William C. Hsiao, 2009. "China's health system and its reform: a review of recent studies," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S2), pages 7-23, July.
    8. Galarrága, O & Sosa-Rubí, S. G & Salinas, A & Sesma, S, 2008. "The Impact of Universal Health Insurance on Catastrophic and Out-of-Pocket Health Expenditures in Mexico: a Model with an Endogoenous Treatment Variable," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 08/12, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Woldemichael, Andinet & Gurara, Daniel Zerfu & Shimeles, Abebe, 2016. "Community-Based Health Insurance and Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending in Africa: Evidence from Rwanda," IZA Discussion Papers 9922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Laurène PETITFOUR & Xiezhe HUANGFU & Martine AUDIBERT & Jacky MATHONNAT, 2017. "Efficiency of township hospitals in China in the context of the drug policy reform: Progress should not get bogged in midstream - A case study from a survey in Weifang prefecture," Working Papers P185, FERDI.
    11. Liu, Hong & Fang, Hai & Zhao, Zhong, 2013. "Urban–rural disparities of child health and nutritional status in China from 1989 to 2006," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 294-309.
    12. Chen, Yuyu & Jin, Ginger Zhe, 2012. "Does health insurance coverage lead to better health and educational outcomes? Evidence from rural China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-14.
    13. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Francesco Saraceno, 2008. "The intergenerational content of social spending : health care and sustainable growth in China," Sciences Po publications 2008-27, Sciences Po.
    14. Carine Milcent & Binzhen Wu, 2013. "How Do You Feel? The Effect of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme in China," Working Papers halshs-00826822, HAL.
    15. Wagstaff, Adam, 2007. "Health insurance for the poor : initial impacts of Vietnam's health care fund for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4134, The World Bank.
    16. Wagstaff, Adam & Lindelow, Magnus & Jun, Gao & Ling, Xu & Juncheng, Qian, 2009. "Extending health insurance to the rural population: An impact evaluation of China's new cooperative medical scheme," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-19, January.
    17. Baird, John & Ma, Steven & Ruger, Jennifer Prah, 2011. "Effects of the World Bank's maternal and child health intervention on Indonesia's poor: Evaluating the safe motherhood project," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(12), pages 1948-1955, June.
    18. Johar, Meliyanni, 2009. "The impact of the Indonesian health card program: A matching estimator approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 35-53, January.
    19. Omar Galárraga & Sandra Sosa-Rubí & Aarón Salinas-Rodríguez & Sergio Sesma-Vázquez, 2010. "Health insurance for the poor: impact on catastrophic and out-of-pocket health expenditures in Mexico," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 11(5), pages 437-447, October.
    20. Evan Borkum & Dana Rotz & Anu Rangarajan & Swetha Sridharan & Sukhmani Sethi & Mercy Manoranjini & Lakshmi Ramakrishnan & Lalit Dandona & Rakhi Dandona & Priyanka S. Kochar & G. Anil Kumar & Priyanka , 2014. "Midline Findings from the Evaluation of the Ananya Program in Bihar," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 74ef56ababd9412b82ef906fc, Mathematica Policy Research.
    21. Hou, Xiaohui & Chao, Shiyan, 2011. "Targeted or untargeted? The initial assessment of a targeted health insurance program for the poor in Georgia," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 278-285.

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    Keywords

    Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Health Systems Development&Reform; Health Economics&Finance; Health Law; Housing&Human Habitats;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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