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Equity in Access to Health Care Services in Italy

Authors

  • Valeria Glorioso Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan 20126, Italy
    • Address correspondence to Valeria Glorioso, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milano-Bicocca, Via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi 8, Milan 20126, Italy; e-mail: valeria.glorioso@unimib.it.

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  • S. V. Subramanian Ph.D.

    1. Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
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Abstract

Objective

To provide new evidence on whether and how patterns of health care utilization deviate from horizontal equity in a country with a universal and egalitarian public health care system: Italy.

Data Sources

Secondary analysis of data from the Health Conditions and Health Care Utilization Survey 2005, conducted by the Italian National Institute of Statistics on a probability sample of the noninstitutionalized Italian population.

Study Design

Using multilevel logistic regression, we investigated how the probability of utilizing five health care services varies among individuals with equal health status but different SES.

Data Collection/Extraction

Respondents aged 18 or older at the interview time (n = 103,651).

Principal Findings

Overall, we found that use of primary care is inequitable in favor of the less well-off, hospitalization is equitable, and use of outpatient specialist care, basic medical tests, and diagnostic services is inequitable in favor of the well-off. Stratifying the analysis by health status, however, we found that the degree of inequity varies according to health status.

Conclusions

Despite its universal and egalitarian public health care system, Italy exhibits a significant degree of SES-related horizontal inequity in health services utilization.

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