France, Social Portrait2015 Edition
France, Social Portrait is for everyone who would like to learn more about French society. This cross-cutting publication in the “Insee Références” collection gives a broad overview of the social situation in France.
Drop in healthcare spending in the countries badly hit by the economic crisis
After the Trente Glorieuses, the proportion of healthcare expenditure in gross domestic product tended to increase in most European countries. However, during the 2000s it was almost stable in countries like Germany, then France. This change took place gradually due to improved control of spending on health insurance. However, following the economic crisis which began in 2008, per capita health expenditure slowed down, or even reduced, all the more so in countries in the south and north-west of Europe like Greece, Portugal or Ireland and to a lesser extent in Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. It is difficult to distinguish the intrinsic effect of the economic crisis from the consequences of structural policies on control of health expenditure. Nevertheless, actions undertaken such as budget cuts, reducing the cost of care or increasing premiums have contributed to this turnaround in trends, particularly visible in spending on medicines. The economic difficulties and recovery measures have contributed in some countries to a limiting of access to care, particularly due to the increase in the remaining costs to be paid by households. A substantial increase in refusal of care reported for some types of care has been observed in some countries badly hit by the crisis, such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. While life expectancy has not decreased in any of the countries surveyed, the same did not always apply for life expectancy in good health: even although the causal link with the reduction in health expenditure was not established at this stage, life expectancy in good health declined in Greece and Italy.