Universal Healthcare In Europe: Key Features And Benefits – As Europe emerges from the pandemic, investing in health will not only save lives and build greater resilience, but also bring economic growth and prosperity.
As devastating as the Covid-19 pandemic has been, it offers important lessons as Europe looks forward to economic recovery, especially now that mass vaccinations are on the rise. Health and economy are inseparable. Although the final health and economic toll is still unknown, more than half a million lives were lost in Europe in the first year of the outbreak, and Europe’s GDP fell by 7.5 percent. What is less appreciated, however, is that every year poor health costs the European economy an average of double or 15 percent of GDP from reduced quality of life, premature death and lost productivity. As Europe emerges from its current health crisis, there is an opportunity not only to fix the problems posed by the epidemic, but also to save lives, improve the overall quality of life, and build greater resilience to future health crises, all while driving economic growth and development. More prosperity.
Universal Healthcare In Europe: Key Features And Benefits
Our analysis consists of two main steps. First, we evaluate the potential of known interventions and innovations to reduce the burden of disease. Second, we calculate the impact of disease-burden reduction on economies.
We derive our disease burden projections for each European country through 2040 from the International Burden of Disease data compiled by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). This dataset includes diseases that cause death and contribute to years lived in ill health. We define diseases as health conditions that affect quality of life, including infectious diseases, chronic conditions, and injuries.
To estimate the achievable disease burden in our healthy-growth environment, we conducted a detailed review of clinical evidence and guidelines to identify interventions currently available and in the pipeline, which have the greatest potential to reduce today’s disease burden. . We did this for 52 major diseases, which account for 80 percent of the global disease burden and 75 percent of the U.S. disease burden, and based on clinical guidelines and evidence from leading institutions such as the World Health Organization, the Disease Control Priorities Network, and The Lancet to estimate the potential for health improvement. In all cases, our aim was to identify a total of 150 of the most effective intervention baskets, rather than extracting all possible interventions within a well-resourced and comprehensive health care system.
For each individual intervention for 52 diseases, we followed three steps. First, we quantified health-improvement potential. This is an estimate of the proportion of disease burden that could be avoided by rigorously implementing interventions that affect people with the disease. Second, we estimated the potential for the United States to increase adoption from current levels in countries that fall into high-income antecedents (high, middle, lower middle, and low). For interventions that require ongoing compliance with a treatment program, this estimate of adoption includes ongoing follow-up, not just initial adoption. Third, we estimated the time needed to reach full effect. This involves two issues: the time required for implementation and the time lag between delivering the intervention and reaping the health benefits from it. Where evidence on current or potential levels of adoption was limited, we made reasonable assumptions.
To measure the economic impact of these health improvements for Europe, we use population and labor force projections by country to 2040 and include health improvements by age group each year. We then translate improvements in public health into labor force participation and labor productivity and into GDP through four channels: fewer premature deaths; Low injury rate among workers; Higher labor market participation among healthy older people, informal caregivers and people with disabilities; and higher productivity of a healthy workforce. The assumptions used to estimate the impact on each of these channels are drawn from academic research and tested with an advisory group of economists.
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There are many uncertainties in trying to understand how to improve Europe’s health and what the benefits will be in 20 years. These arise from changes in the development of the burden of disease in Europe, the availability and effectiveness of different interventions in different populations (currently used and in development), and the impact of improvements in health on society and the economy. We control for these uncertainties at each step of the analysis in the following ways.
This study does not predict health trends. The aim is to provide an understanding of the magnitude of health and economic benefits that can be achieved through the widespread implementation of known interventions. Our estimates are not predictions, and we recognize the changes necessary to achieve the health gains identified in two decades. We also recognize risks and hazards that could change the burden of disease and the accuracy of our estimates. In particular, the immediate and long-term consequences of emerging diseases such as Covid-19 and our response to them affect this fundamental burden in ways we cannot reliably measure today.
This study does not estimate current and future health care costs. Instead, we draw on published studies that assess the net costs of implementing the identified interventions and provide a high-level estimate of the cost of transitioning to a healthy growth path. These implementation costs add to current health care costs but may be offset by productivity gains in health care spending in middle- and high-income countries.
This study does not make recommendations regarding spending by any government or organization. It is intended to provide insight into what can be achieved through broader improvements in global health. Although our research provides guidance on how to improve global population health, each country in Europe has unique environmental health and economic conditions that must be taken into account to determine the most effective interventions in each case.
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For more details on our methodology, see the technical appendix of Putting Health First: A Prescription for Prosperity (MGI, July 2020).
, to take a closer look at Europe and identify what is needed to improve the health of the European population and what benefits it will have for individuals, the economy and society. (See the sidebar “Our Method.”) We focus on the 27 member states of the European Union, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We examine disease burden and economic projections over the two decades to 2040 to identify challenges and opportunities at the national level and draw general findings for the region as a whole.
The Covid-19 pandemic is an excellent example of how health, and measures to control and suppress the spread of an infectious disease, can affect the economy. However, even before the pandemic, poor health cost Europe an average of $2.7 trillion, or 15 percent of GDP per year, in lost economic opportunity, about $5,000 per person (Exhibit 1).
Poor health reduces economic capacity by keeping people out of the workforce, reducing productivity and reducing earning potential. For example, a person may leave the workforce temporarily or permanently due to ill health, or may be relegated to a physically or emotionally undesirable role due to low pay. Others may reduce their work-related terms to care for dependents living with ill health and disabilities. In addition to being tragic, premature mortality also affects labor force and therefore economic output.
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Our analysis examines the impact of lost health on the labor market, including economic opportunity, aggregate labor supply, unemployment, underemployment, and productivity. Poor health affects people’s lives in many non-economic ways, causing pain and distress, reducing independence and limiting people’s ability to participate in daily activities, enjoy life and realize their personal potential.
Three conditions have a disproportionate economic impact and account for more than half of the economic potential lost due to ill health in Europe as a whole. These include: Musculoskeletal pain, particularly low back pain and neck pain, accounts for 24 percent of all economic losses from ill health. 18 percent have mental health problems such as depression and anxiety; And neurological diseases such as migraines and headaches account for 13 percent.
These three conditions are relatively common, affect most people of working age, and have a relatively high impact on daily life and productivity because they are associated with severe pain and stress. A longitudinal study conducted in the United Kingdom found that the conditions are significant predictors of early retirement, with more than half of early retirees reporting one or more. Similar patterns are found in Germany.
High levels of preventable health risks, particularly overweight and obesity, which contribute to the overall burden of disease, exist across Europe and affect all social groups, although disproportionately those in low socioeconomic groups. A survey of older people (over 50) in 20 European countries found that four out of five respondents
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