Public expenditure on hospitals through the Australian Medicare system plays an important role in the social wage. However, relatively little is known about the distribution of hospital benefits and, in particular, the differences in expenditure on different income groups. Accordingly, in this study, public expenditure on hospitals is examined using a combination of data sources rich in information on hospital use and expenditure, health status and socioeconomic characteristics. It was found that public expenditure on hospitals was very pro-poor, with persons in the lowest income quintile receiving five times the expenditure of persons in the top quintile. However, expenditure on individuals admitted to hospital varied markedly within income groups. People in the lowest income quintile were found to attract the greatest expenditure because they were older, sicker, had a higher risk of hospitalisation, were least likely to be insured and most likely to be admitted to a public hospital.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Australian Economic Review|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|