Health Policy in East Asia

S T Lee Lecturekeggleston
Health Policy in East Asia: Responding to Demographic and Epidemiologic Transition

Karen Eggleston, Stanford University

6pm, Monday, 3 November 2014
CPC Lecture Theatre, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney.

The Menzies Centre for Health Policy is pleased to present the 2014 S T Lee Lecture. The lecture will be delivered by Karen Eggleston, Stanford University, Faculty Director, Asia Health Policy Program, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center’ Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Health systems of East Asian countries, like many others across the globe, must confront challenges associated with demographic and epidemiologic transition. With populations enjoying longer, healthier lives, societies are rapidly aging and adjusting to large burdens of chronic non-communicable disease.

To examine the health policy challenges associated with these intertwined and long-term transitions, this talk will focus on the cases of Japan (among the oldest age structures ever observed) and China – the most populous country, now aging even more rapidly than Japan did, at lower per capita income. Policy questions addressed include whether mandatory health check-ups in Japan contributed to healthier behavior and efficient prevention; whether expansion of health insurance to universal coverage in China has played any causal role in improving survival; and modeling the impact of health reforms and technological innovations.

Health systems face profound challenges from the triumph of longevity, warranting careful attention to strengthening primary care and enhancing value-for-money in the health sector. Demographic and epidemiologic change also shape work-lives and thus financing of social protection programs, with many Asians spending a declining share of life expectancy in the labor force – raising questions about sustainable financing for health insurance and long-term care.

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