Who pays for health care in Asia?

Owen O'Donnell, Eddy van Doorslaer, RP Rannan-Eliya, A Somanathan, SR Adhikari, B Akkazieva, D Harbianto, CC Garg, P Hanvoravongchai, AN Herrin, MN Huq, S Ibragimova, A Karan, SM Kwon, GM Leung, JFR Lu, Y Ohkusa, BR Pande, R Racelis, K TinK Tisayaticom, L Trisnantoro, Q Wan, BM Yang, Y Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

188 Citations (Scopus)


We estimate the distributional incidence of health care financing in 13 Asian territories that account for 55% of the Asian population. In all territories, higher-income households contribute more to the financing of health care. The better-off contribute more as a proportion of ability to pay in most low- and lower-middle-income territories. Health care financing is slightly regressive in three high-income economies with universal social insurance. Direct taxation is the most progressive source of finance and is most so in poorer economies. In universal systems, social insurance is proportional to regressive. In high-income economies, the out-of-pocket (OOP) payments are proportional or regressive while in low-income economies the better-off spend relatively more OOP. But in most low-/middle-income countries, the better-off not only pay more, they also get more health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-475
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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