Changes made to healthcare expenditures in 2019. What you need to know
In the first week of October, the government presented a revised copy of the Economic and Financial Document (Def) that was released last April. Estimated healthcare expenditures have risen slightly, from 115.818 billion as per the Def 2018 blueprint made by Gentiloni’s Government to 116.331 billion according to forecasts made by the new Government. In the next few years, new forecasts put spending at 117.239 billion in 2019 (instead of 116.382 billion as per the Def), 119.452 in 2020 and 121.803 in 2021. The incidence of healthcare expenditures on the GDP are slightly on the rise as well, moving to 6.5% in 2019 (0.1% higher than Def 2018 forecasts) and decreasing to 6.4% in 2020 and 2021 (still 0.1% higher than the Def released by the Gentiloni Government).
Priorities for healthcare expenditures in 2019
What provisions will the Government make? How will money for healthcare expenditures be spent? The revision lists five priorities:
-improving the governance of healthcare expenditures;
-Implementation, monitoring and review of the national minimum statutory benefits
-investments in healthcare facilities and in more advanced high-tech equipment.
The revised budget refers to more vigilant policies for personnel with recruitment and placement stability procedures and more scholarships to train young physicians. Furthermore, the Government intends to modify legislation in force that regards healthcare management. With regards to Lea, instead, there is talk about the National Annual Report on Chronic Policies in Italy and the Government’s intention to establish a directive that identifies quality, structural, technological and quantitative standards for healthcare in Italy. By December 2018, the new Government National Plan for Waiting Times should be in force. Even a revision of the guidelines regulating participation in health expenses and exemptions is planned for co-pay fees.
Public health: one of the Government’s most important ‘testing grounds’
Even though an increase in healthcare expenditures is good news for Italians, we are still a long way from meeting the standards required by the OECD. Private healthcare costs are on the rise as well. Expenses per capita are currently at €655, but this number risks reaching €1,000 in 2025 if changes are not made real soon. In 2017, Italian families spent a total of 40 billion euros from their own pockets (9.6% more than in the period 2013-2017) in order to pay for 150 million treatments and services. Out-of-pocket expenses are currently at an all-time high in Italy with seven million Italians in debt to pay for these treatments. Healthcare is definitely a field that requires greater involvement on behalf of the government and, as such, it is also a field where the Government’s capacity to lead the country to better times can be assessed.
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