Study shows the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on healthcare varied between countries

June 5, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Medical Xpress report
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A team of researchers from several institutions in Europe has conducted an analysis of healthcare quality levels across Europe during the 2008 financial crisis. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they describe the differences they found in level of care over the course of the crisis.

The of 2008 was felt in many parts of the world, but not all experienced the same impact on healthcare. In some countries, those less well-off saw a decline in healthcare availability and services, while those in other countries did not. In this new effort, the researchers looked at mortality and (being sick or diseased) for people living in 17 countries over the years 1980 to 2014 and 2002 to 2014, respectively. Their data also included survey responses from 350,000 people regarding their levels of health and quality of healthcare they received.

The researchers report that they found major differences in numbers for people living in different countries. Some, such as the U.K. and many western European countries, actually saw a steady improvement in mortality rates for people in all income brackets—a trend that began before the crisis and continued after. Such countries also saw steady numbers for morbidity rates. In other countries, things were not as rosy. They found that while in eastern Europe continued to improve in recent years, morbidity rates did not for those with less education and income. They also found that for those countries that felt the strongest economic impact, people of all income brackets saw reductions in availability of healthcare services.

The results by the team, they note, contrast sharply with numbers found by other researchers studying healthcare in the United States. Despite its rating as one of the top economies in the world, the country experienced an increase in both mortality and morbidity rates during the crisis, but only for those on the lower end of the economic spectrum.

The researchers conclude their findings by noting that poor people living in countries that had programs in place to provide were effectively shielded from loss of services during rough economic times. They note also that the U.S. has continued to experience rising mortality and rates even as the crisis was resolved.

Explore further: Income inequality impacts obesity in children

More information: Johan P. Mackenbach et al. Trends in health inequalities in 27 European countries, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1800028115

Abstract
Unfavorable health trends among the lowly educated have recently been reported from the United States. We analyzed health trends by education in European countries, paying particular attention to the possibility of recent trend interruptions, including interruptions related to the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. We collected and harmonized data on mortality from ca. 1980 to ca. 2014 for 17 countries covering 9.8 million deaths and data on self-reported morbidity from ca. 2002 to ca. 2014 for 27 countries covering 350,000 survey respondents. We used interrupted time-series analyses to study changes over time and country-fixed effects analyses to study the impact of crisis-related economic conditions on health outcomes. Recent trends were more favorable than in previous decades, particularly in Eastern Europe, where mortality started to decline among lowly educated men and where the decline in less-than-good self-assessed health accelerated, resulting in some narrowing of health inequalities. In Western Europe, mortality has continued to decline among the lowly and highly educated, and although the decline of less-than-good self-assessed health slowed in countries severely hit by the financial crisis, this affected lowly and highly educated equally. Crisis-related economic conditions were not associated with widening health inequalities. Our results show that the unfavorable trends observed in the United States are not found in Europe. There has also been no discernible short-term impact of the crisis on health inequalities at the population level. Both findings suggest that European countries have been successful in avoiding an aggravation of health inequalities.

Related Stories

Income inequality impacts obesity in children

April 10, 2018
National income and income inequality impacts on body size of children and adolescents according to new research from the University of Auckland.

Negative health impact of economic recession unevenly distributed among groups in Spain

February 21, 2017
A study carried out in Andalusia, Southern Spain, following the 2007/2008 economic recession detected increasing inequalities in male mortality rates. Men with lower educational levels saw an increase in mortality compared ...

Global economic downturn linked with at least 260,000 excess cancer deaths

May 25, 2016
The economic crisis of 2008-10, and the rise in unemployment that accompanied it, was associated with more than 260,000 excess cancer-related deaths—including many considered treatable—within the Organization for Economic ...

Drug-related mortality rates are not randomly distributed across the US

March 26, 2018
Drug-related deaths have grown to be a major US public health problem over the past two decades. Between 2006 and 2015 there were more than 515,000 deaths from drug overdoses and other drug-related causes. The economic, social, ...

Scottish hospitals see slower decline in deaths

February 22, 2018
Researchers at the University of York have found that Scottish hospitals have experienced slower reductions in inpatient deaths than their English counterparts.

Recommended for you

Adequate consumption of 'longevity' vitamins could prolong healthy aging, nutrition scientist says

October 16, 2018
A detailed new review of nutritional science argues that most American diets are deficient in a key class of vitamins and minerals that play previously unrecognized roles in promoting longevity and in staving off chronic ...

Age at which women experience their first period is linked to their sons' age at puberty

October 12, 2018
The age at which young women experience their first menstrual bleeding is linked to the age at which their sons start puberty, according to the largest study to investigate this association in both sons and daughters.

First ever meta-analysis on Indian lead exposure reveals link to devastating intellectual disability in children

October 12, 2018
New Macquarie University research has revealed the devastating disease burden associated with elevated blood lead levels in India. The results of the first ever meta-analysis of Indian blood lead levels found the burden of ...

The long-term effects of maternal high-fat diets

October 12, 2018
If a mother eats a high-fat diet, this can have a negative effect on the health of her offspring—right down to her great-grandchildren. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers at ETH Zurich from a study with mice.

Sit-stand office desks cut daily sitting time and appear to boost job performance

October 11, 2018
Sit-stand workstations that allow employees to stand, as well as sit, while working on a computer reduce daily sitting time and appear to have a positive impact on job performance and psychological health, finds a trial published ...

Molecular link between body weight, early puberty identified

October 11, 2018
Becoming overweight at a young age can trigger a molecular chain reaction that leads some girls to experience puberty early, according to new research published in Nature Communications.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.