Rationing the Public Provision of Healthcare in the Presence of Private Supplements: Evidence from the Italian NHS
33 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2006
Date Written: May 2007
In this paper we assess the relative effectiveness of user charges and administrative waiting times as a tool for rationing public healthcare in Italy. We measure demand elasticities by estimating a simultaneous equation model of GP primary care visits, public specialist consultations and private specialist consultations, as if they were part of an incomplete system of demand. We find that own price elasticity of the demand for public specialist consultation is about -0.3, while administrative waiting time plays a less important role. No substitution exists between the demand for public and private specialists, so that user charges act as a net deterrent for over-consumption. The public provision of healthcare does not induce the wealthy to opt out. Moreover our evidence suggests that user charges and waiting lists do not serve redistributive purposes.
Keywords: healthcare demand elasticities, user charges, waiting lists, multivariate count data model
JEL Classification: C34, C35, C51, D12, I11
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