nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2005‒08‒20
four papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. Health supplier quality and the distribution of child health By Carol Propper; John Rigg
  2. Why is Life Expectancy So Low in the United States? By Alicia H. Munnel; Robert E. Hatch; James G. Lee
  3. Will Health Care Costs Erode Retirement Security? By Richard W. Johnson; Rudolph G. Penner
  4. Is Private Long-Term Care Insurance the Answer? By Richard w. Johnson; Cori Uccello

  1. By: Carol Propper; John Rigg
    Abstract: There is emerging evidence to suggest that initial differentials between the health of poor and more affluent children in the UK do not widen over early childhood. One reason may be that through the universal public funded health care system all children have access to equally effective primary care providers. This paper examines this explanation. The analysis has two components. It first examines whether children from poorer families have access to general practitioners of a similar quality to children from richer families. It then examines whether the quality of primary care to which a child has access has an impact on their health at birth and on their health during early childhood. The results suggest that children from poor families do not have access to markedly worse quality primary care, and further, that the quality of primary care does not appear to have a large effect on differentials in child health in early childhood.
    Keywords: primary care quality, child health
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2005–06
  2. By: Alicia H. Munnel (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Robert E. Hatch (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); James G. Lee (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: The United States is the richest major country in the world in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Since longevity is clearly associated with income, America’s older citizens must live longer than their counterparts in other large industrial nations. Right? Wrong! Among the 30 developed countries that comprise the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), American life expectancy at age 65 for both males and females falls in the middle of the group. More than that, we are not expected to catch up anytime soon. The improvement in U.S. life expectancy, as projected by the Social Security Administration, implies that a 65-year-old American woman in 2050 will live about as long as a 65-year-old Japanese woman lives today. What are the implications of this unimpressive showing? And what explains the poor U.S. performance?
    Keywords: life expectancy
    JEL: D31 I12
    Date: 2004–08
  3. By: Richard W. Johnson (Urban Institute); Rudolph G. Penner (Urban Institute)
    Abstract: Retirement security depends on both the income of the aged and their consumption needs. Several recent studies project that the Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964 and are now approaching traditional retirement ages, will on average receive more income in later life than earlier generations of older Americans. But increases over time in consumption needs might offset these income gains. In particular, rising health care costs may threaten the Baby Boomers’ retirement security. This brief projects future income and out-of-pocket health care spending at older ages. If current policies continue, income after taxes and health care spending for the typical older married couple will be no higher in 2030 than it was in 2000 — despite 30 years of productivity growth. The increased health care burden will be particularly painful for those at the lower end of the income distribution who do not qualify for Medicaid.
    Keywords: baby boomers, retirement, health care
    JEL: E21 D31 J14
    Date: 2004–10
  4. By: Richard w. Johnson (Urban Institute); Cori Uccello (Urban Institute)
    Abstract: As the population ages, more Americans than ever before will need long-term care. The cost of providing services is already straining government and family budgets, and costs are expected to soar in a few decades when the Baby Boomers begin to reach their 80s. One option often touted as a possible solution to the looming crisis is to promote private insurance coverage of long-term care needs. This brief describes private long-term care insurance and some of the advantages and limitations of coverage. Despite ongoing efforts to promote private long-term care insurance, widespread coverage faces a number of important hurdles, including affordability, uncertainty about future premium increases, and the disincentives created by the Medicaid safety net.
    Keywords: baby boomers, long-term care, insurance, aging
    JEL: J14
    Date: 2005–03

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