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Cost-containment in Europe

By Tony Culyer

Abstract

Cost-containment is not in itself a sensible policy objective because any assessment of the appropriateness of health care expenditure in aggregate, as of that on specific programs, requires a balancing of costs and benefits (at the margin). International comparisons of expenditures can, however, provide indications of the likely impact on costs/expenditures of structural features of health care systems. This paper reviews the evidence based upon OECD data for both European countries and a wider set and outlines some current policies in Europe that are directed at controlling health care costs.

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