OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

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Health Care Reform in Japan

The health status of the Japanese is one of the best in the world. The healthcare system has no doubt contributed to this, though the current state of research in health economics does not permit the determination of the extent of such contribution. The Japanese system, based on social insurance, has provided both basic care and free choice of doctors to every citizen at affordable costs. It has, however, become increasingly clear that the Japanese system has failed to allocate resources properly, ensure financial equity and adapt to changing patterns of demand. This paper first explains how a system that once seemed to function well has become inappropriate, then how policies have tried to overcome some of the problems. The paper concludes with key considerations shaping future reform ...


Keywords: health care systems, Japan
JEL: I10: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health: General; I18: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
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