Discussion paper Health Economics

DP16642 The Right to Health and the Health Effects of Denials

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.


Bhalotra, S and M Fernandez (2021), ‘DP16642 The Right to Health and the Health Effects of Denials‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16642. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp16642