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Jose Torres
Over the last two decades, the Peruvian government has made great efforts to improve access to health care by significantly augmenting the coverage of the non-contributory public health care system Seguro Integral de Salud (SIS). This expansion has a positive impact on welfare and public health indicators, as it limits the risk of catastrophic health-related costs for previously uninsured individuals and allows for the appropriate treatment of illnesses. However, it also entails some unintended consequences for informality, tax revenues, and GDP, since a few formal agents are paying for a service that the majority of (informal) agents receive for free. In this paper, we use a general equilibrium model calibrated for Peru to simulate the expansion of SIS to quantify the unintended effects. We find that overall welfare increases, but informality rises by 2.7 percent, while tax revenues and output decrease by roughly 0.1 percent. Given the extent of the expansion in eligibility, the economic relevance of these results seems negligible. However, this occurs because the expansion of coverage was mostly funded by reducing the spending per-insured person. In fact, we find larger costs if public spending is increased to improve the quality of service given universal coverage.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is still contending with an unprecedented health and economic crisis. In the months since the October 2020 Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, the region has confronted a second coronavirus (COVID-19) wave that swiftly outpaced the scale and speed of the first. While this episode has eased for now, many countries are bracing for further waves, particularly as access to vaccines remains scant.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is still contending with an unprecedented health and economic crisis. In the months since the October 2020 Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, the region has confronted a second coronavirus (COVID-19) wave that swiftly outpaced the scale and speed of the first. While this episode has eased for now, many countries are bracing for further waves, particularly as access to vaccines remains scant.