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Rationing the Public Provision of Health Care in the Presence of Private Supplements: Evidence from the Italian NHS

  • Daniele Fabbri
  • Chiara Monfardini

In this paper we assess the relative effectiveness of user charges and administrative waiting times as a tool for rationing public healthcare in Italy. We measure demand elasticities by estimating a simultaneous equation model of GP primary care visits, public specialist consultations and private specialist consultations, as if they were part of an incomplete system of demand. We find that own price elasticity of the demand for public specialist consultation is about -0.3, while administrative waiting time plays a less important role. No substitution exists between the demand for public and private specialists, so that user charges act as a net deterrent for over-consumption. The public provision of healthcare does not induce the wealthy to opt out. Moreover our evidence suggests that user charges and waiting lists do not serve redistributive purposes.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 06/14.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:06/14
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