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Ensuring Public Health Care and Tackling Growing Expenditures

Erik Bækkeskov (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Peter Triantafillou (Roskilde University,Denmark)

Public Governance in Denmark

ISBN: 978-1-80043-713-5, eISBN: 978-1-80043-712-8

Publication date: 23 February 2022


Healthcare provision in Denmark reflects some of the key principles of the welfare state. By securing relatively easy and equal access for all Danish residents regardless of income via general tax financing, the Danish healthcare system has strong ethical merits. All residents are entitled to comprehensive healthcare services. The Danish healthcare system is also relatively efficient. Total healthcare expenditures – including public and private – amount to 10% of GDP, above the OECD 8.8% average but well below the costs in the other Nordic countries, Germany, Switzerland and the United Stated. Notwithstanding its merits, healthcare in Denmark shares key predicaments with other OECD countries, primarily how to improve health outcomes while containing care expenditures. All of the OECD countries aim to improve population life expectancy and health quality. Yet their ageing and increasingly obese populations are exacerbating the demands on their respective healthcare systems. This chapter examines changes in how Denmark has managed these challenges. The main argument is that the healthcare system performance on managing health outcomes and costs improved remarkably from the 1990s to the early 2020s, although outcome inequalities remain. Notable changes in the system were targeted innovations in treatment procedures and expansion of municipal rehabilitation and preventive efforts, along with strict budget controls.



Bækkeskov, E. and Triantafillou, P. (2022), "Ensuring Public Health Care and Tackling Growing Expenditures", Krogh, A.H., Agger, A. and Triantafillou, P. (Ed.) Public Governance in Denmark, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 209-226.



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