Have bailouts shifted the burden of paying for healthcare from the state onto individuals?
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The financial crisis that enveloped Europe in 2009 created financial pressure for governments and required a number of countries to obtain a financial bailout from the IMF. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of the financial crisis on public health expenditure in bailout countries and if bailouts shift the burden of paying for healthcare from the state onto individuals.
Quantitative health expenditure data were collected from the WHO and OECD for the period 2004–2015 and evaluated using a comparison of means Welch’s t test.
The majority of bailout countries recorded a decrease in public health expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure, with Ireland recording the largest decrease with government health expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure, falling by 22% (P < .01). In addition, the results also suggest that the burden of paying for healthcare shifted from the state onto individuals in three countries, namely Hungary, Ireland and Portugal, where public health expenditure declined and private expenditure increased significantly.
The ramifications of shifting the burden of paying for healthcare from the state onto individuals at this point remain unclear with further research required to identify the long-term consequences for healthcare.
KeywordsBailouts Europe Financial crisis Healthcare expenditure
Conor Loughnane received financial support from the Health Service Executive for conducting this analysis.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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