Objectives: This study investigated the association between health care systems and health indicators in developed countries.
Methods: Cross-national comparisons were conducted with regression analysis between 17 Western European countries with two types of health care systems: national health services and social security systems.
Results: Health care expenditures were inversely correlated to potential years of life lost to females and to infant mortality rates; they were positively correlated to life expectancy for females. Regression models predicted that countries with national health services systems would have lower infant mortality rates at similar levels of gross domestic product (GDP) and health care expenditures. Finally, increases in health care expenditures would decrease the ratio of observed to predicted infant mortality rates according to GDP; this decrease would be greater in countries with national health services than in those with social security systems. The model predicted this difference to be about 13% at average levels of health expenditures.
Conclusions: National health services seem to be more efficient at producing lower infant mortality rates than social security systems in Western European countries.