Health: Funding, Access and Efficency

A review/summary of  ‘Health: funding, access and efficency’ by Anne Nolan in ‘The Economy of Ireland’ (10th edition)

1. Introduction

Public expenditure on health accounts for 8.8 per cent of GNI, and 9.7 per cent of total employment.

Ireland still ranks as one of the low spenders in the OECD, despite over 100 per cent increase in real terms from 97-07’.

Debate has now shifted towards the efficiency and effectiveness of increased spending. The other main issue is the ‘equity of distribution’ debate, centred on the extent to which private coverage confers faster access to hospital services.

2. Rationale for government intervention:

The public sector remains the main agent responsible for the finance and delivery of health services in Ireland. The private sector accounts for 20 per cent of finance, and is also heavily involved in provision.

Intervention occurs for various reasons, mainly:

  • Asymmetric information
  • Uncertainty
  • Positive externalities
  • Equity/ distributional concerns
  • Imperfect competition

This paper is continued under the ‘healthcare’ section above

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