DP16642 The Right to Health and the Health Effects of Denials

Author(s): Sonia Bhalotra, Manuel Fern√°ndez
Publication Date: October 2021
Keyword(s): Colombia, Health Care, Health Insurance, litigation, Mortality, right-to-health, universal health coverage
JEL(s):
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16642

We investigate supply-side barriers to medical care in Colombia, where citizens have a constitutional right to health, but insurance companies impose restrictions. We use administrative data on judicial claims for health as a proxy for unmet demand. We validate this using the health services utilization register, showing that judicial claims map into large, pervasive decreases in medical consultations, procedures, hospitalizations and emergency care. This manifests in population health outcomes. We identify increases in mortality pervasive across cause, age and sex, with larger increases for cancer, individuals over the age of fifty, women and the poor.