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Nordic Economic Policy Review

Challenges in health care financing and provision

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The Nordic Economic Policy Review is published by the Nordic Council of Ministers and addresses policy issues in a way that is useful for in-formed non-specialists as well as for professional economists. All articles are commissioned from leading professional economists and are subject to peer review prior to publication. The review appears twice a year. Content: Challenges in health care financing and provision - Tor Iversen and Sverre A.C. Kittelsen Ageing populations: More care or just later care? - Terkel Christiansen, Jørgen Lauridsen and Mickael Bech Comment by Anna Lilja Gunnarsdottir Lifestyle, health and costs – what does available evidence suggest? - Kristian Bolin Comment by Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir The economics of long-term care: A survey - Helmuth Cremer, Pierre Pestieau and Gregory Ponthiere Comment by Þórólfur Matthíasson The role of primary health care in controlling the cost of specialist health care - Stephen Beales and Peter C. Smith Comment by Helgi Tómasson Payments in support of effective primary care for chronic conditions - Randall P. Ellis and Arlene S. Ash Comment by Jørgen T. Lauridsen An economic assessment of price rationing versus non-price rationing of health care - Luigi Siciliani Comment by Mickael Bech Should pharmaceutical costs be curbed? - Kurt R. Brekke, Dag Morten Dalen and Steinar Strøm Comment by Helgi Tómasson Productivity differences in Nordic hospitals: Can we learn from Finland? - Clas Rehnberg and Unto Häkkinen Comment by Thorvaldur Gylfason

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Comment on Beales and Smith: The role of primary health care in controlling the cost of specialist health care

The urgent search for expenditure control mechanisms constitutes the background and topic of Beales and Smith's paper. In the paper, there is an implicit definition of the classification of health care into primary care and specialist care. The general practitioner (GP, British reference) and preventive medicine, immunizations, vaccinations, seat belts, etc., seem to be defined as primary care, and dealing with acute care, difficult diseases, accidents, hospital admission as specialist care. The paper gives a literature review of the role of primary health care. The cited literature suggests that countries with more developed primary care systems have healthier populations. Measuring the health of a population is a challenging issue. Certainly, no simple measure is obvious. The literature reports organized efforts to reduce the use of specialist care. The results of these efforts seem somewhat mixed.

English

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