RESEARCH – March 2017

People with limited health condition evaluate health systems more critically:comparison of Estonia and 14 other European countries

Authors: Mare Ainsaar, Oliver Nahkur

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Background. People with better health condition tend to be more satisfied with the healthcare systems compared to people with worse health condition. Previous studies argue that satisfaction with the healthcare system might depend more on external factors outside the health system. One such factor might be general satisfaction with government`s actions.

Objective. The paper compares satisfaction with healthcare systems of people with better and worse health conditions in 15 European countries taking into account general satisfaction with government`s actions generally and some other indicators.

Methods. We used data from the European Social Survey round 7 (2014). The survey provides data about 15+ non-institutionalised populations representative of the country. Face to face interviews were used in data collection. To analyse satisfaction differences between people with better and worse health conditions, we used step-by step linear regression analysis.

Results. The results demonstrate that satisfaction with healthcare systems is related to the health condition of respondents in many countries. People with worse health condition tend to be less satisfied with the respective health care system. General satisfaction with the government is the most powerful factor related to satisfaction with the healthcare system in all countries. Only in Austria, Sweden and Slovenia is the more critical attitude of the less healthy people towards the healthcare system not revealed after taking into account satisfaction with the government of the particular country. Estonia and Belgium are the only countries where the economic status of people explains the impact of health on satisfaction with healthcare.

Conclusion. In Estonia people with worse health condition are less satisfied with the healthcare system mainly because they have less economic resources. The impact of income on relationship with healthcare requires further investigation in Estonia.