The Notion of a Health Good in China and Elsewhere
Is the intervention of the state in the healthcare market legitimate and efficient? To answer this question, a clear definition of a health good and its implications is needed. Can we just apply the general definition of a public good for all health goods? Should we consider different types of health goods? If yes, how do we delimit the frontier between a public good and a private good? With a rapid glance at the diversity of organizations in the healthcare system that exist in the world, it appears there is little consensus on what can and should be defined as a public good. Generally speaking, all countries have a mixed health system, combining pro-market elements with welfare state safeguards, and China is no exception: all reforms of the healthcare system implemented since the 1980s have swung between both. To understand the Chinese health system and its recent evolution, we need to start by defining the global framework in which the “health good” is set.
KeywordsHealth good Public good and private good Competition Price elasticity Healthcare
- Commission on Macroeconomics and Health _ CMH, WHO, 2001. http://www.who.int/macrohealth/infocentre/advocacy/en/investinginhealth02052003.pdf. Accessed September 2017.
- Cornes, R., and T. Sandler, The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods, Cambridge University Press, 1986.Google Scholar
- Eggleston, Karen, Ling Li, Qingyue Meng, Lindelow Magnus, and Wagstaff Adam, “Health Service Delivery in China: A Literature Review,” Health Economics, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2008, pp. 149–165Google Scholar
- Grossman, Michael, “On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health,” The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 80, No. 2, 1972.Google Scholar
- Hess, C., and E. Ostrom, “Introduction,” In C. Hess and E. Ostrom (eds.), Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006.Google Scholar
- Hsiao, William C., and Yuanli Liu, “Economic Reform and Health—Lessons from China,” The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 335, 1996, pp. 430–432.Google Scholar
- Leach, J., A Course in Public Economics. Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 155–156.Google Scholar
- Liu, L., and K. Rao, “Providing Health Insurance in Rural China: From Research to Policy,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2006, pp. 71–92.Google Scholar
- Thompson, D., China’s Health Care Reform Redux, 2009.Google Scholar
- Yip, W., and W. Hsiao, “What Drove the Cycles of Chinese Health System Reforms?” Health Systems & Reform, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2015, pp. 52–61.Google Scholar