Allocation of Resources in Medical Care from an Economic Viewpoint: Remarks to the XXIX World Assembly of the World Medical Association and Commentary.

by Joseph P. Newhouse, George A. Goldberg

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Using data compiled by the United Nations and other sources, this paper analyzes the allocation of medical care resources in developed countries. Three central questions of economic organization of medical care are posed: What determines the fraction of resources that a society devotes to medical care? What determines how the fraction is divided among various medical care resources? What determines who receives benefits of the medical care resources and how much the resources are paid? The author suggests that wealth of the society, prices at which the society can obtain various resources, and preferences of the individuals within the society all interact to determine the answers. Some of the statistical data examined: (1) percentage of GNP spent on health care, (2) number of physicians per 10,000 population, number of hospital beds per 10,000 and number of beds per physician, (3) hospital admission rates and length of stay, and (4) percentage of physicians in general practice. 31 pp. Bibliog.

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