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Exploring the thresholds of health expenditure for protection against financial risk


Xu, Ke; Saksena, Priyanka; Jowett, Matthew; Indikadahena, Chandika; Kutzin, Joe; & Evans, David B. (2010). Exploring the thresholds of health expenditure for protection against financial risk. World health report, Background Paper(No. 19), 328–333.


The messages form previous studies are fairly consistent that reliance on OOP and less government health spending increases households' financial risk, levels of impoverishment and deepens the extent of poverty. However, a closer examination shows that of the data shows that most countries that can devote more than 5-6% of their GDP to health are high income countries. Similar pattern emerge for OOP as a share of total health expenditure. Is this a coincidence among countries reported in previous studies? Or are there limits on how large of a budget share can be allocated to health by governments and households given a country's level of economic development?

With this question in mind, this paper explores the patterns of total health expenditure and its components as well their relationship with GDP. We build on previous literature, most of which is significantly older, and further examine health expenditure data. We take advantage of the availability of time series National Health Accounts (NHA) data to do this. The next section describes the data and methods used.

This is followed by the presentation of the results and finally, a discussion section.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

World health report


Xu, Ke
Saksena, Priyanka
Jowett, Matthew
Indikadahena, Chandika
Kutzin, Joe
Evans, David B.