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Putin Sets Healthcare Spending Goals Above Recent Averages

RUSSIA -- Journalists watch as Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address in Manezh in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 1, 2018
Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

President of the Russian Federation

In 2019–2024, we need to spend over 4 percent of the GDP each year to develop the healthcare system. At the same time, the goal we must bear in mind is 5 percent. In absolute terms, this means that healthcare spending must double. In addition, we must find new funding opportunities that would not limit economic growth.

In 15 years, Russia’s healthcare expenditures have remained well below Putin's optimistic goals.

It is hard to tell what kind of scale of healthcare expenditures Putin talks about. If we take a combined set of all resources (including “mandatory” and “voluntary”), then it was already 5.6% of the GDP in 2015 according to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

It’s likely that he talked about the expenditures by the government. Government healthcare expenditures in Russia have been around 3.2% - 3.4% of the GDP as it is noted in the recently released report “Healthcare: Much Needed Answers to the Modern Challenges” issued by a Russian Center for Strategic Research (CSR).

The authors of the report clarify, “Healthcare is traditionally a number one priority for Russians, getting ahead of security, a stable income, the environment and more. Satisfaction by accessible healthcare services is, on the contrary, is the lowest on the scale of satisfactions of daily living.”

According to the OECD, in 2000, those expenditures in Russia were 3% of the GDP. The peak was chronicled in 2009 at 3.5%. By 2011, the rate went back down to 3% after which it started to slowly grow.

To compare these rates with their counterparts from the 35 countries from the OECD report, we took the average measure of 3.3% from the CSR report:

OECD, CSR Government Healthcare Expenditures in 2016, 2018
OECD, CSR Government Healthcare Expenditures in 2016, 2018

OECD, CSR Government Healthcare Expenditures in 2016, 2018
OECD, CSR Government Healthcare Expenditures in 2016, 2018

To bring Russia healthcare expenditures up to the level of “more than 4% of the GDP” would mean leveling Russia up with South Korea, Lithuania and Poland of 2016. To make it 5% would mean to level Russia up with Greece, Chile, Estonia and Hungary.

The CSR report tells us that the average level of healthcare expenditures in the OECD countries is 6.5% of the GDP, and 7.2% of the GDP in the European Union.

From Factograph