Public hospital expenditure: how is it divided between lower, middle and upper income groups?

D. Schofield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-316
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Economic Review
Volume33
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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