The price of living longer
What have we gained from the last twenty years of healthcare? Compared to twenty years ago, we’re getting considerably older, but that has come at quite a cost. The money invested in coronary heart disease has delivered the greatest results. Other investments had lower returns, also in comparison with other countries.
One clear indicator of healthcare quality is life expectancy. In the past twenty years, men have gained five years, moving life expectancy from 75 to 80 years. Women saw a smaller increase: they went from 81 to 83 years. So on average, life expectancy has increased by 3.6 years. In terms of years of good health, men have now surpassed women. In 1997, each spent 61 years in good health; it’s currently 65 years for men and 63 for women.
In the same period, healthcare expenditures grew rapidly. In 1997, an estimated 23 cents of every euro spent by the government went to healthcare. As of 2017, it increased to 31 cents per euro. One way or another, this extra spending cuts into budgets for other public services, from education and social security to safety and culture.
Is that actually a good deal? Spending 8 cents per euro more on healthcare for a 3.6 year increase in life expectancy?