Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Private financing of health care in times of economic crisis: a review of the evidence

Wouters, Olivier J. ORCID: 0000-0002-2514-476X and McKee, Martin (2017) Private financing of health care in times of economic crisis: a review of the evidence. Global Policy, 8 (S2). pp. 23-29. ISSN 1758-5880

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (937kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1111/1758-5899.12211


Many high-income countries have cut public health-care spending since the global economic downturn in 2008. In some cases these cuts have been accompanied by calls to expand private financing to improve the efficiency of health systems. In low- and middle-income countries seeking to increase access to health care, it is sometimes suggested that private financing is more effective than public financing because of weak state institutions and bureaucratic shortcomings. In this paper, we review the theoretical and empirical evidence on private financing in terms of cost, efficiency, equity, and financial protection. We consider private health insurance, medical savings accounts, and user charges in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. The theoretical and empirical evidence reveals major market failures in the health sector. It is unlikely that private financing generates better results than public financing. Still, as private financing options are heterogeneous, it is possible that a particular form might play a beneficial role in a specific setting. Given the current state of knowledge, however, any calls to increase private financing must be accompanied by robust evidence, such as real-world pilot studies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Divisions: LSE Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 09:16
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:25

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics