In the 2010 Welfare Policy Council Report, The Challenges for Medical Care, eight leading health economists give their views on Swedish medical care. The next few years will entail increasing costs for treatment methods, equipment and personnel while the requirements and needs for care grow in an increasingly ageing population. Reforms are thus required today.
A summary of the proposals of the report
ULF PERSSON, PROFESSOR AT THE SWEDISH INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH ECONOMICS AT LUND UNIVERSITY:
The current ”silo attitude” with a tight focus on cost control restrains the introduction of economically profitable innovations.
The control system for medical care should be developed so that decisions about the introduction of new health improving technologies are based on a broad perspective which takes the welfare effects for both patients and society into consideration.
Relate funding and costs to quality measures in medical care. With a clear ”price label” on the utility for health of various medical investments, we might get a more efficient use of the total resources of medical care.
CARL HAMPUS LYTTKENS, PROFESSOR AT LUND UNIVERSITY:
Swedish medical care is underfinanced already today. The combination of an ageing population and technological progress will deteriorate the situation.
If nothing is done, more people will get private pension insurances.
Sweden needs a broad political agreement about increasing the share of private funding of medical care, for example by increasing the level for high-cost protection and that the individual will have to cover the costs of certain types of medical care himself. This would prevent a threatening trend towards ”VIP lanes” for those who are well-off and would make it possible to maintain public funding in case of severe health problems.
ULF-G GERDTHAM, PROFESSOR AT LUND UNIVERSITY:
A fair distribution of care and health is an important health policy objective. But Sweden has a skewed distribution in both the consumption of health and medical care favouring high-income earners.
Sweden has a larger skewness in the distribution of visits to the doctor than other countries. This might be due to the weak expansion of primary care.
The health effects should be taken into consideration within each policy area since public national health is basically affected by all policy decisions. A high income level and an even income distribution are beneficial for public national health.
Researchers and Scientific Directors
The project is chaired by the two editors, Professor ANDERS ANELL and Professor ULF-G GERDTHAM, Lund University, together with ARVID WALLGREN, Director of Research at SNS. The other participating researchers are Professor PER CARLSSON, PhD GUDBJÖRG ERLINGSDÓTTIR, PhD CHARLOTTA LEVAY, Professor CARL-HAMPUS LYTTKENS, PhD GERT PAULSSON and Professor ULF PERSSON.