Expenditure on health care in the EU: making projections for the future based on the past
of Health Economics 2(4):
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Health expenditure in the countries of the European Union has risen faster than gross domestic product (GDP) since 1970, namely by 3.2 percentage points in the 1970s, 0.8 in the 1980s, and 1.2 in the 1990s. When examining factors responsible for health expenditure, the "usual suspects" - which are reviewed in turn - are: demography/ageing, economic growth/rising GDP, health care resources, new technologies and medical progress, and health care system design (especially Bismarck vs. Beveridge). While the impact of ageing is usually overestimated, medical progress will continue to exert its impact on spending. If future health care expenditure will rise faster than GDP by 1 percentage point, the EU average will increase from 8.6% in 1998 to 11.8% in 2030. If the increase is 1.5 percentage points higher, it will reach 13.9% in 2030, i.e., the current level in the United States, with a delay of 35 years.