The impact of the economic downturn on healthcare in Spain: consequences and alternatives

Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res. 2013 Aug;13(4):433-9. doi: 10.1586/14737167.2013.815418.


In Spain, the economic downturn has caused big changes in most of the public policies, where healthcare system is the one which is deeply affected too. The objective of the paper is to review some of the recent changes achieved in the system, and to discuss about providing some alternative ideas to the implemented policies. The existing universal coverage previous to the crisis, as acknowledged by the law, has changed last year and the new figure of 'insured person' has been introduced into the system. These persons are now the only ones eligible to receive healthcare under the public coverage. New co-payments have been introduced for drugs, and retired persons must also pay a 10% co-payment (which was 0% before) at the chemist office. Healthcare institutions have also implemented several policies to manage tough budget constraints. Some regions have privatized healthcare management of some hospitals (as Madrid) to control budget and presumably to obtain a higher efficiency. Different initiatives dealing with human resources and external purchases are also presented in this paper to mostly achieve budget control. The majority of the changes have been pure budget cuts and a reorganization of the system and institutions is still needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Budgets
  • Cost Savings
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Delivery of Health Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Drug Costs
  • Economic Recession*
  • Eligibility Determination / economics
  • Financing, Government / economics*
  • Financing, Government / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Financing, Government / organization & administration
  • Health Care Costs* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Expenditures* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Personnel / economics
  • Health Policy / economics*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / economics
  • Organizational Policy
  • Policy Making
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • Spain
  • Universal Health Insurance / economics