Private Finance and Sustainable Growth of National Health Expenditures

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This analysis explores the role of the private sector relative to all health spending among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Bi-variate regression was employed for 31 countries using current data. It was found that the share of GDP allocated to health varies among countries, ranging from 5 percent in Turkey to 14 percent in the United States. Variation in per capita income explains much of this difference but other factors are important too. One appears to be the role of the private sector in financing health expenditures. Our analysis concludes that concern about rising health sector costs should be placed in a larger context: rising health care costs may be justified if benefits are large enough and cover the opportunity costs of alternative uses of resources.

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