The importance of regional availability of health care for old age survival - Findings from German reunification.

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2015

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: This article investigates the importance of regional health care availability for old age survival. Using German reunification as a natural experiment, we show that spatial variation in health care in East Germany considerably influenced the convergence of East German life expectancy toward West German levels. METHOD: We apply cause-deleted life tables and continuous mortality decomposition for the years 1982-2007 to show how reductions in circulatory mortality among the elderly affected the East German catch-up in life expectancy. RESULTS: Improvements in remaining life expectancy at older ages were first seen in towns with university hospitals, where state-of-the-art services became available first. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the modernization of the health care system had a substantial effect on old-age life expectancy and helped to significantly reduce circulatory diseases as the main cause of death in East Germany.

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10.1186/s12963-015-0060-2

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Vogt, Tobias C, and James W Vaupel (2015). The importance of regional availability of health care for old age survival - Findings from German reunification. Popul Health Metr, 13. p. 26. 10.1186/s12963-015-0060-2 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14658.

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