Health care spending outpaces inflation in 11 Asian countries

NewsBharati    06-Jul-2018


New York, July 6: Confronted with increasing aging population and emphasis on providing better health care, the spending on medical care in Asian countries has surpassed the figures of inflation. The upward trend of spending on health care facilities and treatment for the last seven years outpaced the inflation by a wide margin in as much as 11 Asian countries, a recent study showed.

According to agencies China tops the Asian countries with the growth six times higher than the inflation. Increase in non-communicable diseases and the loosening of family ties are the worrying trends. Economic development has changed the life style and diet of the people registering a two-fold increase in the number of diabetic patients in the Asia-Pacific region, the study inferred.

According to the analysis conducted by the United Nation supported Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), “long term care was the fastest growing area of health spending” prior to the 2008-09 global financial crisis.

But loosening or breaking the family bonds and relationships remains one of the main causes for this higher spending. While fewer families keep their elders and aged with them, majority tend to shift them in old age homes or some other arrangement.

As emerging countries develop, their spending on health has also zoomed up at an unsettling rate according to a study by the Mercer March health consulting firm.

Spending on health in Indonesia skyrocketed by 14.3 per cent, outpacing inflation at 3.8 per cent by nearly four times. The Philippines was second at 12.4 per cent annual increase compared with an inflation increase of 3.2 per cent. China’s trend rate, at 9.5 per cent, was nearly six times inflation at 1.6 per cent.

Analysts also worry about the prevalence of non-communicable diseases – chronic diseases like cancer, heart problems, diabetes, etc. – which are responsible for 60-90 percent of deaths each year in the Asia-Pacific region and are expected to increase by 40 per cent across the region by 2030, this again according to Mercer March.

In 2015, the region was home to more than 231 million diabetics, almost triple those June 15 years earlier, as weight gain and bad diets take their toll.