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Savings Capacity in Austrian Health Care System

Published: November 12, 2011; 17:41 · (Vindobona)

Expenses for the Austrian health care system amount to 11.0% of the GDP. The savings capacity has to be exploited, politicians say.

Savings Capacity in Austrian Health Care System / Picture: © Flickr

“We cannot maintain the status quo of our health care system. That is clear for everyone.”, Sonja Wehsely, the health care senator in Vienna says. Yesterday, a discussion about the future of the Austrian health care system took place. Experts participated as well as the Minister for Health Care, Alois Stöger.

Regarding public expenses for the health care system, Austria has top position among the EU members. The share is already 11%. What is more, the density of hospitals is by 50% higher than the average in the EU. A number of efficiency measures could bring a savings potential of 2% points of the annual GDP. For many experts, the current situation is not bearable anymore.

A restructuring of the health care system has to take place. Hospitals must specialize and downsize their capacities. The concept of “gate keeping” would alleviate capacity problems.

Besides that, preventive measures must be supported. Stöger agrees: “We need more prevention and a stronger awareness of the population. Prevention guarantees a longer life and little troubles.” Experts also criticized that non-smokers are not protected sufficiently. Andreas Wörgötter from the OECD: “I do not know a country, where smoking is not prohibited in restaurants.”