The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Impact of Universal Primary Healthcare Provision on Mortality Rates in Turkey

67 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2015

See all articles by Resul Cesur

Resul Cesur

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics

Pinar Mine Güneş

University of Alberta

Erdal Tekin

American University

Aydogan Ulker

Deakin University

Date Written: August 2015

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of universal, free, and easily accessible primary healthcare on population health as measured by age-specific mortality rates, focusing on a nationwide socialized medicine program implemented in Turkey. The Family Medicine Program (FMP), launched in 2005, assigns each Turkish citizen to a specific state-employed family physician who offers a wide range of primary healthcare services that are free-of-charge. Furthermore, these services are provided at family health centers, which operate on a walk-in basis and are located within the neighborhoods in close proximity to the patients. To identify the causal impact of the FMP, we exploit the variation in its introduction across provinces and over time. Our estimates indicate that the FMP caused the mortality rate to decrease by 25.6% among infants, 7.7% among the elderly, and 22.9% among children ages 1-4. These estimates translate into 2.6, 1.29, and 0.13 fewer deaths among infants, the elderly, and children ages 1-4, respectively. Furthermore, the effects appear to strengthen over time. We also show evidence to suggest that the FMP has contributed to an equalization of mortality across provinces. Finally, our calculations indicate that each family physician saves about 0.15, 0.46, and 0.005 lives among infants, the elderly, and children ages 1- 4 per province every year.

Suggested Citation

Cesur, Resul and Mine Güneş, Pinar and Tekin, Erdal and Ulker, Aydogan, The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Impact of Universal Primary Healthcare Provision on Mortality Rates in Turkey (August 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21510. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2653521

Resul Cesur (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics ( email )

School of Business
2100 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269
United States

Pinar Mine Güneş

University of Alberta ( email )

Edmonton, T6G 2R3
Canada

Erdal Tekin

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Aydogan Ulker

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, 3216
Australia

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