Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver April 30, 2019
    The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This is the amount needed for a family of four with each of two parents working full-time at this hourly rate to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape severe financial stress and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Time to regulate gas prices in BC and stop industry gouging April 29, 2019
    Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. But it’s not taxes causing pain at the pump — it’s industry gouging. Our latest research shows that gas prices have gone up by 55 cents per litre since 2016 — and the vast majority of that increase […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA welcomes Randy Robinson as new Ontario Director March 27, 2019
    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Robinson as the new Director of our Ontario Office.  Randy’s areas of expertise include public sector finance, the gendered rise of precarious work, neoliberalism, and labour rights. He has extensive experience in communications and research, and has been engaged in Ontario’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Budget hints at priorities for upcoming […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers

Meta

Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Recession Reduces Health Care Utilization

Here’s a fascinating finding from an NBER study: “The Economic Crisis and Medical Care Usage,” by Annamaria Lusardi, Daniel Schneider, and Peter Tufano (NBER study #15843).

They undertook a broad public survey across 5 countries (the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, and France) on the economic and social impacts of the recession.  The survey covered over 6000 individuals (over 2000 in the U.S., and over 1000 in each of the others), and asked a range of questions regarding how the recession changed their behaviour.  It was administered last June.

One question they asked was whether or not respondents had reduced their use of routine medical care services.  This result was striking.  Here is the proportion of respondents in each country who reported reducing their use of routine medical services, in descending order:

U.S.: 26.5%

France: 12%

Germany: 10.3%

U.K.: 7.6%

Canada: 5.6%

The authors make the obvious conclusion: namely, the higher are the out of pocket fees associated with medical care, the more individuals will cut back care when they are worried about their employment and economic security.  Canada and the U.K. have the lowest user fees among the five countries surveyed; and in those countries, there was virtually no change under the recession in patterns of care utilization.

Ironically, of course, there’s no better time to get medical care than during a recession:  Disruptions to normal work are reduced, and the stimulus to spending is helpful macroeconomically.  Think of getting a medical “tune-up” as the personal equivalent of an investment in public infrastructure (which is also highly appropriate during a recession).  Yet market-based care produces the opposite result: a pro-cyclical trend in health care utilization that denies care when individuals (and the economy) need it the most.

This study is striking testimony to the success of Canada’s universal system, and the dangers of privatization, user fees, and the other “reforms” parroted so loudly these days by the CMA and other conservatives.

Enjoy and share:

Comments

Comment from Iglika Ivanova
Time: August 30, 2010, 10:43 am

I’m not at all surprised by the pro-cyclical nature of health care use in the US since employer-sponsored medical plans fund so much of the health care bill. They are a very large player in Canada as well, which is what probably explains the drop.

Losing your job means you lose health coverage as well and your out of pocket expenses go up higher than usual. Usually, there’s a period of a few months after one gets a new job before the health coverage kicks in, so with higher than normal job turnover rate we should expect to see more people delay receiving health care.

And that’s for people who receive health benefits from their employers, and we know that many workers don’t.

Write a comment





Related articles