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Inequity in Publicly Funded Physician Care: What Is The Role Of Private Prescription Drug Insurance?

Sara Allin () and Jeremiah Hurley
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Sara Allin: LSE Health, London School of Economics and Political Science

No 2008-02, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series from Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Abstract: This study examines the impact that private financing of prescription drugs in Canada has on equity in the utilization of publicly financed physician services. The complementary nature of prescription drugs and physician service use alongside the reliance on private finance for drugs may induce an income gradient in the use of physicians. We use established econometric methods based on concentration curves to measure equity in physician utilization and its contributors in the province of Ontario. We find that individuals with prescription drug insurance make more physician visits than do those without insurance, and the effect on utilization is stronger for the likelihood of a visit than the conditional number of visits, and for individuals with no chronic conditions than those with at least one condition. Results of the equity analyses reveal the most important contributors to the pro-rich inequity in physician utilization are income and private insurance, while public insurance, which covers older people and those on social assistance, has a pro-poor effect. These findings highlight that inequity in access to and use of publicly funded services may arise from the interaction with privately financed health services that are complements to the use of public services.

Keywords: equity; private insurance; prescription drugs; physician utilization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 27 pages
Date: 2008
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ias
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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