Chapter

Evaluating Japan's Health Care Reform of the 1990s and Its Efforts to Cope with Population Aging

Naohiro Yashiro, Reiko Suzuki and Wataru Suzuki

in Health Care Issues in the United States and Japan

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780226902920
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226903248 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226903248.003.0002
Evaluating Japan's Health Care Reform of the 1990s and Its Efforts to Cope with Population Aging

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This chapter explores the basic structure of the Japanese medical care system, primarily addressing recent policy issues. It is observed that various policy reforms introduced in the 1990s did not effectively solve Japan's fundamental health care system problems. The rate at which Japan's population was aging was accelerating in the 1990s, far exceeding that of the United States. The price elasticity of demand for medical care was very small, generally around -0.1. A variety of policies were implemented in order to control health expenditures by means of the efficient use of resources. Increasing the copayment rate and mechanisms for sharing revenue among health insurance providers, however, were not sufficient to attain a sustainable fiscal balance in the long run. The 2003 health insurance reform was a first step toward a more comprehensive reform of the health care services sector.

Keywords: health insurance reform; Japanese medical care system; Japan; health insurance; copayment rate; sharing revenue; population aging

Chapter.  10371 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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