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The health effects of universal health care : evidence from Thailand

  • Wagstaff, Adam
  • Manachotphong, Wanwiphang

This paper exploits the staggered rollout of Thailand’s universal health coverage scheme to estimate its impacts on whether individuals report themselves as being too ill to work. The statistical power comes from the fact that there is an average of 62,000 respondents in the labor force survey at each survey date and no less than 68 survey dates, most of which are just one month apart. The analysis finds that universal coverage reduced the likelihood of people reporting themselves to be too sick to work: the authors estimate the effect to be -0.004 one year after universal coverage and -0.007 three years after. The estimated effects are much larger among those age 65 and over. Universal coverage had a much larger effect on health (about four times larger) than the Village Fund scheme, which provided free credit to rural households through a subsidized microcredit scheme and which was rolled out around the same time as universal coverage.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6119.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6119
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  1. David M. Cutler & Angus S. Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," NBER Working Papers 11963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Health Insurance Eligibility, Utilization of Medical Care, and Child Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 431-66, May.
  3. Amy Finkelstein & Sarah Taubman & Bill Wright & Mira Bernstein & Jonathan Gruber & Joseph P. Newhouse & Heidi Allen & Katherine Baicker, 2012. "The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1057-1106.
  4. Pannarunothai, Supasit & Patmasiriwat, Direk & Srithamrongsawat, Samrit, 2004. "Universal health coverage in Thailand: ideas for reform and policy struggling," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 17-30, April.
  5. Boonperm, Jirawan & Haughton, Jonathan & Khandker, Shahidur R. & Rukumnuaykit, Pungpond, 2012. "Appraising the Thailand village fund," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5998, The World Bank.
  6. Finkelstein, Amy & McKnight, Robin, 2008. "What did Medicare do? The initial impact of Medicare on mortality and out of pocket medical spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1644-1668, July.
  7. Mariano Bosch & Raymundo M. Campos-Vázquez, 2010. "The trade-offs of social assistance programs in the labor market: The case of the “Seguro Popular” program in Mexico," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2010-12, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
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