Thursday March 25th 2010



YPLL and Health expenditure in the United States, Europe and other OECD countries

We hope that controversies around Health assistance organization in the USA will achieve enough social agreement in order to allow all the populaltion to benefit from a good and affordable health assistance at least in the same degree that it happens in the major countries of Western Europe and other industrialized countries. It does not mean necessarity that public systems will substitute private health assistance, because each country may decide a mix of both public and private systems to operate in order to offer a good system to all the population.

In the interesting survey: “Education, Health and Economic Development: A Survey of Quantitative Economic Studies, 2001-2009, by Guisan, M.C. (2009)”, published in our journal RSES Vol. 9-2, we analyze the relationship between “health expenditure per capita” and Years of Potential Life Lost. The article is free downloadable (clicking on the title to go to the Abstract page, and then on “download” within that page).

Graph 3. YPLLF (or PYLLF): Years of potential life lost per 100 thousand population, female and Health expenditure per capita in OECD countries year 2005
Source: Elaborated by Guisan(2009) from OECD, WHO and WDI statistics. Health Expenditure per capita is expressed in dollars at 2005 prices and Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs).
Graph 4. YPLLM (o PYLLM): Years of potential life lost per 100 thousand population male
and Health expenditure per capita in OECD countries, year 2005

Source: Elaborated by Guisan(2009) from OECD, WHO and WDI statistics Health expenditure per capita in Dollars at 2005 prices and Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs).

Potential Years of Life Lost, PYLL (also know as YPLL: Years of Potential Life Lost) is measured by the number of years of life lost by people who died below 70 years old, per each 100 thousand inhabitants), PYLLF refers to female population and PYLLM to male population. This variable usually diminish when health expenditure per capita increases, although other factors are also important to lower the level of this prematural deaths, such as those related with the facilities to use health assistance services, if necessary, by all the population in all the geographical and social areas of the country, and other ones related with other risks that experience population such as risky jobs, health habits of life, and other ones.
We notice that several factors, such as risky jobs and activities among other ones, play an important role to explain the big differences between PYLLM and PYLLF, as in all the analysed countries PYLLM was substantially higher than PYLLF. It is striking to notice that the United States has the highest value of health expenditure per head but much higher values of PYLLF and PYLLM than those which should correspond to the degree of expenditure and quality of health assistance. Accordingly to recent reports on health assitance improvements it is clearly desirable that the USA may reach lower values of PYLLM and PYLLF in the next years.
Education has generally a highly positive impact on real production per capita, and real production usually help to increase the level of health expenditure per head. The increase of health expenditure per capita usually leads, with proper organization, to clear increases in health welfare and to clear diminutions of potential years of life lost.

It is good news the current reforms aimed to increase coverage of health insurance to many millions of northamerican citizens who did not enjoy this important service until now.

This article was originally posted on Euro American Association of Economic Development Studies