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Open AccessArticle

Who Benefits from Public Healthcare Subsidies in Egypt?

Department of Economics, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg 35037, Germany
Department of Economics, Faculty of Commerce, Damanhour University, Damanhour 22514, Egypt
Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H4, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jerry D. Marx
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(4), 1162-1176;
Received: 20 August 2015 / Revised: 10 November 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 25 November 2015
Direct subsidization of healthcare services has been widely used in many countries to improve health outcomes. It is commonly believed that the poor are the main beneficiaries from these subsidies. We test this hypothesis in Egypt by empirically analyzing the distribution of public healthcare subsidies using data from Egypt Demographic and Health Survey and Egypt National Health Accounts. To determine the distribution of public health care subsidies, we conducted a Benefit Incidence Analysis. As a robustness check, both concentration and Kakwani indices for outpatient, inpatient, and total healthcare were also calculated. Results show some degree of inequality in the benefits from public healthcare services, which varied by the type of healthcare provided. In particular, subsidies associated with University hospitals are pro-rich and have inequality increasing effect, while subsidies associated with outpatient and inpatient care provided by the Ministry of Health and Population have not been pro-poor but have inequality reducing effect (weakly progressive). Results were robust to the different analytical methods. While it is widely perceived that the poor benefit the most from health subsidies, the findings of this study refute this hypothesis in the case of Egypt. Poverty reduction measures and healthcare reforms in Egypt should not only focus on expanding the coverage of healthcare benefits, but also on improving the equity of its distribution. View Full-Text
Keywords: benefit incidence analysis; healthcare subsidies; inequality; poverty; Egypt benefit incidence analysis; healthcare subsidies; inequality; poverty; Egypt
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Rashad, A.S.; Sharaf, M.F. Who Benefits from Public Healthcare Subsidies in Egypt? Soc. Sci. 2015, 4, 1162-1176.

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