A Panel Data Analysis of The Utilisation of GP Services in Ireland: 1995-2001
The extent to which the cost of obtaining health care influences the utilisation of GP and other health services is a frequently analysed topic. A key issue concerns the extent to which access to private health insurance and/or eligibility for free public health services results in differences in utilisation that cannot be explained by differences in need factors such as age, gender or health status. Ireland is an interesting case study in this regard as only 30 per cent of the population are eligible for free GP consultations; the remainder of the population must pay the full price. Using panel data from 1995 to 2001 on GP visits in Ireland, this paper applies a random effects approach to count data in an attempt to determine the factors influencing GP visiting patterns, with a particular focus on the role of eligibility for free public health services.
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