International Monetary Fund

IMF Book Launch and Seminar

The Economics of Public Health Care Reform in Advanced and Emerging Economies

Thursday, April 19, 2012

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. IMF Headquarters (HQ1-01-704)
Attendance was open to the public.

Health care reform remains a key challenge in advanced and emerging economies.

In advanced economies, public expenditure on health is putting large pressure on government budgets, owing largely to technological innovation—which leads to better and more expensive health services—and population aging. In emerging economies, where spending is lower, the challenge is to expand health insurance coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner.

A new book—The Economics of Public Health Care Reform in Advanced and Emerging Economies—focuses on the outlook for public health expenditures in the next 20 to 40 years and the options for health care reform in both advanced and emerging economies, drawing on lessons from across the globe. The book includes cross-country studies on public health spending trends and projections, the role of the private sector, and health reform options and impacts. In addition, the book also features detailed case studies of 11 advanced economies and 7 emerging economies.

Key issues to be discussed include:

  • What are the trends in spending in different time periods and country groups? What has influenced these trends? How much does population aging account for the increase in spending?

  • What is the outlook for public health spending over the next 20 to 40 years? Given differing degrees of success in controlling the growth of public health spending, which countries face the largest public health spending pressures?

  • What is the appropriate role of the private sector in health care financing and delivery?

  • What reforms could advanced countries consider to control the growth of public health spending in an efficient and equitable manner? What are the potential savings that could be realized with different reforms? What needs to be done to ensure that health reforms do not conflict with goals for ensuring equitable access to health care?

  • How can emerging economies expand health coverage and improve health outcomes without incurring high fiscal costs?


Min Zhu (Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund) will deliver opening remarks, which will be followed by a keynote address by Professor Dana Goldman of University of Southern California and a short presentation by David Coady (Deputy Division Chief, Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund).