No correlation between health care expenditure and mortality in the European Union

Published:March 14, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2016.02.025
      There is ongoing debate about the impact of aggregate health care expenditure on health outcomes, and it also remains quite uncertain whether increasing health spending may be a significant factor for decreasing death rates. In 1991, Mackenbach published an interesting analysis to establish whether a higher national level of health care expenditure could be associated with a larger degree of success in decreasing mortality within the European Community [
      • Mackenbach J.P.
      Health care expenditure and mortality from amenable conditions in the European Community.
      ], concluding that no association existed between deaths and health care funding. Interestingly, no other comprehensive evidence has been published so far in Europe. Therefore, in order to establish whether or not any relationship exists between aggregate health care expenditure and mortality in the European Union in recent years, we analyzed data of overall mortality in the 28 European countries from the year 2000 to the year 2013, combined with those of the concomitant expenditure for health care (all functions). Health care costs were reported as per capita expenditure, including all financing agencies and all health care providers (i.e., both private and public). Mortality data were extracted from the official website of the European Union [

      European Union. Mortality and life expectancy statistics. http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Mortality_and_life_expectancy_statistics#Main_tables. [Last access, 22 February 2016].

      ], whereas health care costs were retrieved from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [

      Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Health Expenditure and Financing. http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=SHA. [Last access, 22 February 2016].

      ]. For each year after the 2000, a ratio was calculated for both mortality and health care expenditure to normalize the data.

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      References

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        Health care expenditure and mortality from amenable conditions in the European Community.
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      1. European Union. Mortality and life expectancy statistics. http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Mortality_and_life_expectancy_statistics#Main_tables. [Last access, 22 February 2016].

      2. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Health Expenditure and Financing. http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=SHA. [Last access, 22 February 2016].

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