Ms. Victoria Gunnarsson, Sergio Lugaresi, and Marijn Verhoeven
The paper assesses the financial situation of the health sector in the Slovak Republic. It also evaluates the efficiency of health expenditures and service delivery in comparison to the OECD and other new EU member states and suggests avenues for cost recovery and reform. The health sector of the Slovak Republic is plagued by financial problems. To turn around health system finances and achieve larger gains in health outcomes, the efficiency of health spending needs to increase and the mix and quality of real health resources need to be improved. Although Slovak's overall health spending efficiency is on par with that of the OECD, substantial inefficiencies occur in the process of transforming intermediate health inputs into health outcomes. Efficiency may be enhanced by containing the cost of drugs and reducing reliance on hospital care. Also, although cost-effectiveness may be relatively high at present, its sustainability in the future is an issue.
This Selected Issues paper on the Slovak Republic reviews efficiency and reform of the health sector. The immediate challenge for the health care system in the Slovak Republic is to improve health sector outcomes while containing public health spending. The Slovak health care system is decentralized, and the central government has limited control over decisions by insurance companies and health care institutions. The government has introduced limits on administrative costs of insurance companies and submitted proposals to regulate their profits with the aim of diverting resources to health care providers.
This Selected Issues paper on the United Kingdom reviews the IMF's Global Economy Model, which incorporates energy to examine the impact of rising energy prices on the United Kingdom. The model incorporates energy as a final consumption good as well as a primary input in the production process. With energy entering the production process, increases in energy costs affect overall aggregate supply capacity as firms reduce output and factor-utilization rates given the real increase in their cost structures.
This paper describes how economic behavior in the market for health care in the United States is influenced by a range of impediments to the functioning of the price mechanism which impart an upward bias to health care costs and imply efficiency losses. The paper also considers how to reform the health care sector, with particular emphasis on finding a way of resolving the dilemma posed by the tradeoff between the risk spreading afforded by insurance and establishing appropriate incentives to restrain expenditures.