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[Per capita healthcare spending has been sensitive to aging, defined as the shift in the period age-profile of non-communicable diseases. Steeper profiles, compression, or more aging, has coincided with faster spending; flatter profiles, expansion, or less aging, have coincided with slower spending. The childhood-linked and the life-course related components of the aging profiles imply that cost containment can be socially optimal only if it is uncorrelated to the life-course component of aging, or if it boosts the life-course component by furnishing better quality healthcare at lower cost. Further, income elasticity, construed in the usual sense of the percentage change in healthcare demand for a percentage change in real per capita income, seems like an unreliable element for grasping the historical events that likely shaped the path of healthcare spending, as well as for framing its outlook over decades-long horizons.]
Published: Dec 12, 2014
Keywords: Per capita healthcare spending; Aging; Cost containment; Income elasticity; Healthy aging; Childhood-linked aging; Life-course-linked aging; National Health Service; Institutional change; Voter preference
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