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Rising unemployment reduces the demand for healthcare services among people with cardiovascular disease: an Australian cohort study

Clifford Afoakwah (), Hong Son Nghiem, Paul Scuffham and Joshua Byrnes
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Clifford Afoakwah: Griffith University
Joshua Byrnes: Griffith University

The European Journal of Health Economics, 2021, vol. 22, issue 4, No 12, 643-658

Abstract: Abstract Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remain a global health challenge due to number of deaths and use of healthcare services related to the condition. Although a plethora of studies have shown the impact of unemployment on health outcomes, evidence on the unemployment effects on the demand for expensive cardiac healthcare services is rare. This study exploits longitudinal cohort dataset to examine the impact of variations in local level unemployment rate on the demand for healthcare services among working aged people with CVD in Australia. Our findings show an inverse relationship between unemployment and the demand for healthcare services. Specifically, we find that a rising unemployment reduces the demand for primary and secondary healthcare services, with the largest effect observed for hospital admissions and hospitalisation days. We further show that rising unemployment at the local level has a greater impact on CVD patients with comorbidities and those who live in nonremote areas. Finally, our estimates suggest that increasing local level unemployment averts a substantial number of healthcare services use, leading to an unintended cost savings of $1.2 million to the health sector.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Unemployment; Healthcare services; Cost savings (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E3 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s10198-021-01281-5

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