Investing in public health greatly boosts domestic economy: report

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2015-5-28 0:13:01

A 10 percentage point increase in healthcare per capita correlates to about an 8.7 percent increase in GDP per capita, according to a report published by Peking University.

The Health and Economic Prosperity report, conducted by the Peking University National School of Development and PKU China Center for Health Economic Research, mainly addressed relations between healthcare and economy and the positive returns of investing in health.

The report also found that a one-year increase in life expectancy would correspond to a 7 percent increase in China's GDP per capita.

"The report highlighted that investing in the health sector is worthwhile," Liu Guoen, principal investigator of the report and PKU Yangtze River Scholar Professor of Economics at the Peking University National School of Development, told the Global Times. He added that investing in the health sector has been long considered as costly in China.

The report was based on statistics from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members in the past decades, and showed countries that invested more in the health sector experienced higher economic growth, Liu said.

Health is a result of "investment," which includes good environmental conditions, healthy lifestyle, genetic factors and health services, according to the report.

Government investment plays an important role in public health, and the report found that a 10 percentage point increase in the public share of total healthcare expenditures correlates to about a six-month increase in life expectancy.

China's medical service industry is lagging behind Western countries.

The medical service industry accounted for 18 percent of the US GDP in 2012, but it accounted for less than 6 percent of China's GDP in 2013, according to the report.

Former health minister Chen Zhu called on local government to increase health investment in 2010.

He said that occupations such as nursing home workers for seniors, health consultants and nutrition consultants were promising, the Xinhua News Agency reported.


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