The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Masahiro Nozaki, Kenichiro Kashiwase, and Ikuo Saito
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Health spending has risen rapidly in Japan. We find two-thirds of the spending increase over 1990-2011 resulted from ageing, and the rest from excess cost growth. The spending level will rise further: ageing alone will raise it by 31/2 percentage points of GDP over 2010-30, and excess cost growth at the rate observed over 1990-2011 will lead to an additional increase of 2-3 percentage points of GDP. This will require a sizable increase in government transfers. Japan can introduce micro- and macro-reforms to contain health spending, and financing options should be designed to enhance equity.