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Health Care Systems

Efficiency and Policy Settings

image of Health Care Systems

People in OECD countries are healthier than ever before, as shown by longer life expectancy and lower mortality for diseases such as cancer. At the same time, total spending on health care now absorbs over 9% of GDP on average in the OECD. Achieving value for money in the health care sector is an important objective in all OECD countries.

The book takes an in-depth look at health care in OECD countries today. What is the status of people’s health? How do we measure health outcomes? How do we assess the efficiency of health care systems? How are health policies and institutions linked with the performance of health care systems? The chapters explore the answers to such questions. They cover: trends in health care outcomes and spending; ways of assessing efficiency; new indicators of health care policies and institutions; and the characteristics and performance of health care systems.

English Korean, French

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Executive summary

Improving health care systems, while containing cost pressures, is a key policy challenge in most OECD countries. The recent economic and financial crisis has weighed heavily on fiscal positions – with gross government debt projected to exceed 100% of GDP in the OECD area by 2011 – and reinforced the need to improve public spending efficiency. Public spending on health care is one of the largest government spending items, representing on average 6% of GDP. Furthermore, health care costs are escalating rapidly, driven by population ageing, rising relative prices and costly developments in medical technology. Public health care spending is projected to increase by 3.5 to 6 percentage points of GDP by 2050 in the OECD area. Against this background, exploiting efficiency gains will be crucial to meet rapidly growing health care demand, without putting the public finances on an unsustainable path.

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