Tavares L., Zantomio F. (2017).
Inequity in healthcare use among older people after 2008: The case of Southern European Countries. York, Health Econometrics and Data Group, University of York, vol. WP 17/06, pp. 1-26
Despite the sizeable cuts in public healthcare spending, part of the austerity measures recently undertaken in Southern European countries, little attention has been devoted to monitoring distributional aspects of healthcare usage. This study aims at measuring socioeconomic inequalities in primary and secondary healthcare experienced some time after the crisis onset in Italy, Spain and Portugal. The analysis, based on data drawn from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), focuses on older people, who generally face significantly higher healthcare needs, and whose health appeared to have worsened in the aftermath of the crisis. The Horizontal Inequity indexes reveal remarkable socioeconomic inequities in older people’s access to secondary healthcare in all three countries. In Portugal, the one country facing most severe healthcare budget cuts and where user charges apply also to GP visits, even access to primary care exhibits a significant pro-rich concentration. If reducing inequities in older people’s access to healthcare remains a policy objective, austerity measures maybe pulling the Olive belt countries further way from achieving it.