Past, present, and future of global health financing: A review of development assistance, government, out-of-pocket, and other private spending on health for 195 countries, 1995-2050

Angela Y. Chang, Krycia Cowling, Angela E. Micah, Abigail Chapin, Catherine S. Chen, Gloria Ikilezi, Nafis Sadat, Golsum Tsakalos, Junjie Wu, Theodore Younker, Yingxi Zhao, Bianca S. Zlavog, Cristiana Abbafati, Anwar E. Ahmed, Khurshid Alam, Vahid Alipour, Syed Mohamed Aljunid, Mohammed J. Almalki, Nelson Alvis-Guzman, Walid AmmarCatalina Liliana Andrei, Mina Anjomshoa, Carl Abelardo T. Antonio, Jalal Arabloo, Olatunde Aremu, Marcel Ausloos, Leticia Avila-Burgos, Ashish Awasthi, Martin Amogre Ayanore, Samad Azari, Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Mojtaba Bagherzadeh, Till Winfried Bärnighausen, Bernhard T. Baune, Mohsen Bayati, Yared Belete Belay, Yihalem Abebe Belay, Habte Belete, Dessalegn Ajema Berbada, Adam Eric Berman, Mircea Beuran, Ali Bijani, Reinhard Busse, Lucero Cahuana-Hurtado, Luis Alberto Cámera, Ferrán Catalá-López, Bal Govind Chauhan, Maria Magdalena Constantin, Christopher Stephen Crowe, Alexandra Cucu, Koustuv Dalal, Jan Walter De Neve, Selina Deiparine, Feleke Mekonnen Demeke, Huyen Phuc Do, Manisha Dubey, Maha El Tantawi, Sharareh Eskandarieh, Reza Esmaeili, Mahdi Fakhar, Ali Akbar Fazaeli, Florian Fischer, Nataliya A. Foigt, Takeshi Fukumoto, Nancy Fullman, Adriana Galan, Amiran Gamkrelidze, Kebede Embaye Gezae, Alireza Ghajar, Ahmad Ghashghaee, Ketevan Goginashvili, Annie Haakenstad, Hassan Haghparast Bidgoli, Samer Hamidi, Hilda L. Harb, Edris Hasanpoor, Hamid Yimam Hassen, Simon I. Hay, Delia Hendrie, Andualem Henok, Ileana Heredia-Pi, Claudiu Herteliu, Chi Linh Hoang, Michael K. Hole, Enayatollah Homaie Rad, Naznin Hossain, Mehdi Hosseinzadeh, Sorin Hostiuc, Olayinka Stephen Ilesanmi, Seyed Sina Naghibi Irvani, Mihajlo Jakovljevic, Amir Jalali, Spencer L. James, Jost B. Jonas, Mikk Jürisson, Rajendra Kadel, Behzad Karami Matin, Amir Kasaeian, Habtamu Kebebe Kasaye, Mesfin Wudu Kassaw, Ali Kazemi Karyani, Roghayeh Khabiri, Junaid Khan, Md Nuruzzaman Khan, Young Ho Khang, Adnan Kisa, Katarzyna Kissimova-Skarbek, Stefan Kohler, Ai Koyanagi, Kristopher J. Krohn, Ricky Leung, Lee Ling Lim, Stefan Lorkowski, Azeem Majeed, Reza Malekzadeh, Morteza Mansourian, Lorenzo Giovanni Mantovani, Benjamin Ballard Massenburg, Martin McKee, Varshil Mehta, Atte Meretoja, Tuomo J. Meretoja, Neda Milevska Kostova, Ted R. Miller, Erkin M. Mirrakhimov, Bahram Mohajer, Aso Mohammad Darwesh, Shafiu Mohammed, Farnam Mohebi, Ali H. Mokdad, Shane Douglas Morrison, Seyyed Meysam Mousavi, Saravanan Muthupandian, Ahamarshan Jayaraman Nagarajan, Vinay Nangia, Ionut Negoi, Cuong Tat Nguyen, Huong Lan Thi Nguyen, Son Hoang Nguyen, Shirin Nosratnejad, Olanrewaju Oladimeji, Stefano Olgiati, Jacob Olusegun Olusanya, Obinna E. Onwujekwe, Stanislav S. Otstavnov, Adrian Pana, David M. Pereira, Bakhtiar Piroozi, Sergio I. Prada, Mostafa Qorbani, Mohammad Rabiee, Navid Rabiee, Alireza Rafiei, Fakher Rahim, Vafa Rahimi-Movaghar, Usha Ram, Chhabi Lal Ranabhat, Anna Ranta, David Laith Rawaf, Salman Rawaf, Satar Rezaei, Elias Merdassa Roro, Ali Rostami, Salvatore Rubino, Mohamadreza Salahshoor, Abdallah M. Samy, Juan Sanabria, João Vasco Santos, Milena M. Santric Milicevic, Bruno Piassi Sao Jose, Miloje Savic, Falk Schwendicke, Sadaf G. Sepanlou, Masood Sepehrimanesh, Aziz Sheikh, Mark G. Shrime, Solomon Sisay, Shahin Soltani, Moslem Soofi, Vinay Srinivasan, Rafael Tabarés-Seisdedos, Anna Torre, Marcos Roberto Tovani-Palone, Bach Xuan Tran, Khanh Bao Tran, Eduardo A. Undurraga, Pascual R. Valdez, Job F.M. van Boven, Veronica Vargas, Yousef Veisani, Francesco S. Violante, Sergey Konstantinovitch Vladimirov, Vasily Vlassov, Sebastian Vollmer, Giang Thu Vu, Charles D.A. Wolfe, Naohiro Yonemoto, Mustafa Z. Younis, Mahmoud Yousefifard, Sojib Bin Zaman, Alireza Zangeneh, Elias Asfaw Zegeye, Arash Ziapour, Adrienne Chew, Christopher J.L. Murray, Joseph L. Dieleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Comprehensive and comparable estimates of health spending in each country are a key input for health policy and planning, and are necessary to support the achievement of national and international health goals. Previous studies have tracked past and projected future health spending until 2040 and shown that, with economic development, countries tend to spend more on health per capita, with a decreasing share of spending from development assistance and out-of-pocket sources. We aimed to characterise the past, present, and predicted future of global health spending, with an emphasis on equity in spending across countries. Methods: We estimated domestic health spending for 195 countries and territories from 1995 to 2016, split into three categories-government, out-of-pocket, and prepaid private health spending-and estimated development assistance for health (DAH) from 1990 to 2018. We estimated future scenarios of health spending using an ensemble of linear mixed-effects models with time series specifications to project domestic health spending from 2017 through 2050 and DAH from 2019 through 2050. Data were extracted from a broad set of sources tracking health spending and revenue, and were standardised and converted to inflation-adjusted 2018 US dollars. Incomplete or low-quality data were modelled and uncertainty was estimated, leading to a complete data series of total, government, prepaid private, and out-of-pocket health spending, and DAH. Estimates are reported in 2018 US dollars, 2018 purchasing-power parity-adjusted dollars, and as a percentage of gross domestic product. We used demographic decomposition methods to assess a set of factors associated with changes in government health spending between 1995 and 2016 and to examine evidence to support the theory of the health financing transition. We projected two alternative future scenarios based on higher government health spending to assess the potential ability of governments to generate more resources for health. Findings: Between 1995 and 2016, health spending grew at a rate of 4.00% (95% uncertainty interval 3.89-4.12) annually, although it grew slower in per capita terms (2.72% [2.61-2.84]) and increased by less than $1 per capita over this period in 22 of 195 countries. The highest annual growth rates in per capita health spending were observed in upper-middle-income countries (5.55% [5.18-5.95]), mainly due to growth in government health spending, and in lower-middle-income countries (3.71% [3.10-4.34]), mainly from DAH. Health spending globally reached $8.0 trillion (7.8-8.1) in 2016 (comprising 8.6% [8.4-8.7] of the global economy and $10.3 trillion [10.1-10.6] in purchasing-power parity-adjusted dollars), with a per capita spending of US$5252 (5184-5319) in high-income countries, $491 (461-524) in upper-middle-income countries, $81 (74-89) in lower-middle-income countries, and $40 (38-43) in low-income countries. In 2016, 0.4% (0.3-0.4) of health spending globally was in low-income countries, despite these countries comprising 10.0% of the global population. In 2018, the largest proportion of DAH targeted HIV/AIDS ($9.5 billion, 24.3% of total DAH), although spending on other infectious diseases (excluding tuberculosis and malaria) grew fastest from 2010 to 2018 (6.27% per year). The leading sources of DAH were the USA and private philanthropy (excluding corporate donations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). For the first time, we included estimates of China's contribution to DAH ($644.7 million in 2018). Globally, health spending is projected to increase to $15.0 trillion (14.0-16.0) by 2050 (reaching 9.4% [7.6-11.3] of the global economy and $21.3 trillion [19.8-23.1] in purchasing-power parity-adjusted dollars), but at a lower growth rate of 1.84% (1.68-2.02) annually, and with continuing disparities in spending between countries. In 2050, we estimate that 0.6% (0.6-0.7) of health spending will occur in currently low-income countries, despite these countries comprising an estimated 15.7% of the global population by 2050. The ratio between per capita health spending in high-income and low-income countries was 130.2 (122.9-136.9) in 2016 and is projected to remain at similar levels in 2050 (125.9 [113.7-138.1]). The decomposition analysis identified governments' increased prioritisation of the health sector and economic development as the strongest factors associated with increases in government health spending globally. Future government health spending scenarios suggest that, with greater prioritisation of the health sector and increased government spending, health spending per capita could more than double, with greater impacts in countries that currently have the lowest levels of government health spending. Interpretation: Financing for global health has increased steadily over the past two decades and is projected to continue increasing in the future, although at a slower pace of growth and with persistent disparities in per-capita health spending between countries. Out-of-pocket spending is projected to remain substantial outside of high-income countries. Many low-income countries are expected to remain dependent on development assistance, although with greater government spending, larger investments in health are feasible. In the absence of sustained new investments in health, increasing efficiency in health spending is essential to meet global health targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2233-2260
Number of pages28
JournalThe Lancet
Volume393
Issue number10187
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Past, present, and future of global health financing: A review of development assistance, government, out-of-pocket, and other private spending on health for 195 countries, 1995-2050'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Chang, A. Y., Cowling, K., Micah, A. E., Chapin, A., Chen, C. S., Ikilezi, G., Sadat, N., Tsakalos, G., Wu, J., Younker, T., Zhao, Y., Zlavog, B. S., Abbafati, C., Ahmed, A. E., Alam, K., Alipour, V., Aljunid, S. M., Almalki, M. J., Alvis-Guzman, N., ... Dieleman, J. L. (2019). Past, present, and future of global health financing: A review of development assistance, government, out-of-pocket, and other private spending on health for 195 countries, 1995-2050. The Lancet, 393(10187), 2233-2260. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30841-4