Equitable access to health care is a core objective of the Italian health care system. Despite having achieved universal coverage for a fairly comprehensive set of health services for decades, there is still evidence of inequities systematically associated with income. Method: Income-related inequity indices were estimated for the probability of general practitioner (GP), specialist, inpatient care and also emergency care using a variety of need indicators. The data used were the Multiscopo survey, 2000 matched with the European Community Household Panel survey for Italy. The contribution of regional inequality was also estimated. Horizontal inequity indices for health care utilization measures were computed separately for people reporting hypertension, arthritis, tumour and heart disease. Results: Significant pro-rich income related inequity was found for GP, specialist and emergency care, no inequity was found for inpatient care. The disease approach showed statistically significant inequity in the probability of specialist care in three of the four chronic conditions analysed, and pro-poor inequity in GP care for all conditions. Inequity was mainly caused by income and regional variations. Conclusions: By reducing regional variation it would be possible to significantly reduce the pro-rich inequity in GP, specialist and emergency care. For specialist care inequity was found for the overall adult population and also among people with serious chronic conditions, and was caused not only by income and regional variation, but also by educational attainment and insurance
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