Federalism and regional health care expenditures: an empirical analysis for the Swiss cantons

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Abstract

Switzerland (7.2 million inhabitants) is a federal state composed of 26 cantons. The autonomy of cantons and a particular health insurance system create strong heterogeneity in terms of regulation and organisation of health care services. In this study we use a single-equation approach to model the per capita cantonal expenditures on health care services and postulate that per capita health expenditures depend on some economic, demographic and structural factors. The empirical analysis demonstrates that a larger share of old people tends to increase health costs and that physicians paid on a fee-for-service basis swell expenditures, thus highlighting a possible phenomenon of supply-induced demand.

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