Population preferences for inclusive COVID-19 policy responsesJournal articleThierry Blayac, Dimitri Dubois, Sebastien Duchêne, Phu Nguyen-Van, Bruno Ventelou et Marc Willinger, The Lancet Public Health, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp. e9, 2021

Currently, countries across the world are applying policies designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, such as lockdowns, international travel restrictions, subsectoral closures, and adjustments in public transportation. Although these restrictions can be effective in controlling the epidemiological dynamics, they also need to be assessed in terms of their acceptability by populations. The preferences of populations should matter, particularly after months of efforts, and the new requirements of lockdowns in several European countries despite these efforts.

Vers une couverture sanitaire universelle au Sénégal : quelles sont les meilleures stratégies de financement ?Journal articleSameera Awawda, Mohammad Abu-Zaineh et Bruno Ventelou, UnisSahel - Couverture Universelle en Santé au Sahel, 2020

Cette étude a pour objectif d’évaluer différents modes de financement de la couverture santé universelle au Sénégal. La méthode utilisée, la micro-simulation, permet d’examiner l’impact de différents scenarii sur les consommations des ménages ainsi que sur les dépenses publiques. Les résultats montrent que la généralisation d’une assurance-maladie à l’ensemble de la population, associée à une réduction des coûts directs des soins, augmenterait les consommations de soins des Sénégalais, améliorant donc leur accès aux services de santé. Néanmoins, une telle généralisation serait coûteuse pour les finances publiques. Pour limiter les coûts supportés par le gouvernement, l’augmentation du taux d’imposition sur la consommation et de la prime de contribution à l’assurance-maladie serait utile et permettrait de ramener les finances publiques à l’équilibre.

Pay Gap Between Male And Female Physicians: A letter to the editor about the pay gap between male and female physicians.Journal articleWilliam B. Weeks et Bruno Ventelou, Health Affairs, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp. 906-906, 2020

-No abstract available-

How will the main risk factors contribute to the burden of non-communicable diseases under different scenarios by 2050? A modelling studyJournal articleMarion Devaux, Alienor Lerouge, Giovanna Giuffre, Susanne Giesecke, Sara Baiocco, Andrea Ricci, Francisco Reyes, David Cantarero, Bruno Ventelou et Michele Cecchini, PloS one, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp. e0231725, 2020

The future burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) depends on numerous factors such as population ageing, evolution of societal trends, behavioural and physiological risk factors of individuals (e.g. smoking, alcohol use, obesity, physical inactivity, and hypertension). This study aims to assess the burden of NCDs in Europe by 2050 under alternative scenarios.

This study combines qualitative and quantitative forecasting techniques to examine how population health in Europe may evolve from 2015 to 2050, taking into account future societal trends. Four scenarios were developed (one business-as-usual scenario, two response scenarios and one pessimistic scenario) and assessed against 'best' and 'worst'-case scenarios. This study provides quantitative estimates of both diseases and mortality outcomes, using a microsimulation model incorporating international survey data.

Each scenario is associated with a different risk factor prevalence rate across Europe during the period 2015-2050. The prevalence and incidence of NCDs consistently increase during the analysed time period, mainly driven by population ageing. In more optimistic scenarios, diseases will appear in later ages, while in the pessimistic scenarios, NCDs will impair working-age people. Life expectancy is expected to grow in all scenarios, but with differences by up to 4 years across scenarios and population groups. Premature mortality from NCDs will be reduced in more optimistic scenarios but stagnate in the worst-case scenario.

Population ageing will have a greater impact on the spread of NCDs by 2050 compared to risk factors. Nevertheless, risk factors, which are influenced by living environments, are an important factor for determining future life expectancy in Europe.

Inequity in access to personalized medicine in France: Evidences from analysis of geo variations in the access to molecular profiling among advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients: Results from the IFCT Biomarkers France StudyJournal articleSamuel Kembou Nzale, William B. Weeks, L’Houcine Ouafik, Isabelle Rouquette, Michèle Beau-Faller, Antoinette Lemoine, Pierre-Paul Bringuier, Anne-Gaëlle Le Corolle Soriano, Fabrice Barlesi et Bruno Ventelou, Plos One, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp. e0234387, 2020

In this article, we studied geographic variation in the use of personalized genetic testing for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and we evaluated the relationship between genetic testing rates and local socioeconomic and ecological variables. We used data on all advanced NSCLC patients who had a genetic test between April 2012 and April 2013 in France in the frame of the IFCT Biomarqueurs-France study (n = 15814). We computed four established measures of geographic variation of the sex-adjusted rates of genetic testing utilization at the “départment” (the French territory is divided into 94 administrative units called ‘départements’) level. We also performed a spatial regression model to determine the relationship between département-level sex-adjusted rates of genetic testing utilization and economic and ecological variables. Our results are the following: (i) Overall, 46.87% lung cancer admission patients obtained genetic testing for NSCLC; département-level utilization rates varied over 3.2-fold. Measures of geographic variation indicated a relatively high degree of geographic variation. (ii) there was a statistically significant relationship between genetic testing rates and per capita supply of general practitioners, radiotherapists and surgeons (negative correlation for the latter); lower genetic testing rates were also associated with higher local poverty rates. French policymakers should pursue effort toward deprived areas to obtain equal access to personalized medicine for advanced NSCLC patients.

Who bears the burden of universal health coverage? An assessment of alternative financing policies using an overlapping-generations general equilibrium modelJournal articleMohammad Abu-Zaineh, Sameera Awawda et Bruno Ventelou, Health Policy and Planning, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp. 867-877, 2020

In their quest for universal health coverage (UHC), many developing countries use alternative financing strategies including general revenues to expand health coverage to the whole population. Unless a policy adjustment is undertaken, future generations may foot the bill of the UHC. This raises the important policy questions of who bears the burden of UHC and whether the UHC-fiscal stance is sustainable in the long term. These two questions are addressed using an overlapping generations model within a general equilibrium (OLG-CGE) framework applied to Palestine. We assess and compare alternative ways of financing the UHC-ridden deficit (viz. deferred-debt, current and phased-manner finance) and their implications on fiscal sustainability and intergenerational inequalities. The policy instruments examined include direct labour-income tax and indirect consumption taxes as well as health insurance contributions. Results show that in the absence of any policy adjustment, the implementation of UHC would explode the fiscal deficit and debt-GDP ratio. This indicates that the UHC-fiscal stance is rather unsustainable in the long term, thus, calling for a policy adjustment to service the UHC debt. Among the policies we examined, a current rather than deferred-debt finance through consumption taxation emerged to be preferred over other policies in terms of its implications for both fiscal sustainability and intergenerational inequality.

Simulating the progression of the COVID-19 disease in Cameroon using SIR modelsJournal articleUlrich Nguemdjo, Freeman Meno, Audric Dongfack et Bruno Ventelou, Plos One, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp. e0237832, 2020

This paper analyses the evolution of COVID-19 in Cameroon over the period March 6-April 2020 using SIR models. Specifically, we 1) evaluate the basic reproduction number of the virus, 2) determine the peak of the infection and the spread-out period of the disease, and 3) simulate the interventions of public health authorities. Data used in this study is obtained from the Cameroonian Public Health Ministry. The results suggest that over the identified period, the reproduction number of COVID-19 in Cameroon is about 1.5, and the peak of the infection should have occurred at the end of May 2020 with about 7.7% of the population infected. Furthermore, the implementation of efficient public health policies could help flatten the epidemic curve.

Assessing the future medical cost burden for the European health systems under alternative exposure-to-risks scenariosJournal articleYevgeniy Goryakin, Sophie P. Thiébaut, Sébastien Cortaredona, Aliénor M. Lerouge, Michele Cecchini, Andrea B. Feigl et Bruno Ventelou, PLOS ONE, Marcello Montefiori (Eds.), Volume 15, Issue 9, pp. e0238565, 2020

Ageing populations and rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) increasingly contribute to the growing cost burden facing European healthcare systems. Few studies have attempted to quantify the future magnitude of this burden at the European level, and none of them consider the impact of potential changes in risk factor trajectories on future health expenditures.

The new microsimulation model forecasts the impact of behavioural and metabolic risk factors on NCDs, longevity and direct healthcare costs, and shows how changes in epidemiological trends can modify those impacts. Economic burden of NCDs is modelled under three scenarios based on assumed future risk factors trends: business as usual (BAU); best case and worst case predictions (BCP and WCP).

The direct costs of NCDs in the EU 27 countries and the UK (in constant 2014 prices) will grow under all scenarios. Between 2014 and 2050, the overall healthcare spending is expected to increase by 0.8% annually under BAU. In the all the countries, 605 billion Euros can be saved by 2050 if BCP is realized compared to the BAU, while excess spending under the WCP is forecast to be around 350 billion. Interpretation:
Although the savings realised under the BCP can be substantial, population ageing is a stronger driver of rising total healthcare expenditures in Europe compared to scenario-based changes in risk factor prevalence.

How French general practitioners respond to declining medical density: a study on prescription practices, with an insight into opioids useJournal articleJulien Silhol, Bruno Ventelou et Anna Zaytseva, The European Journal of Health Economics, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp. 1391-1398, 2020

Disparities in physicians' geographical distribution lead to highly unequal access to healthcare, which may impact quality of care in both high and low-income countries. This paper uses a 2013–2014 nationally representative survey of French general practitioners (GPs) matched with corresponding administrative data to analyze the effects of practicing in an area with weaker medical density. To avoid the endogeneity issue on physicians' choice of the location, we enriched our variable of interest, practicing in a relatively underserved area, with considering changes in medical density between 2007 and 2013, thus isolating GPs who only recently experienced a density decline (identifying assumption). We find that GPs practicing in underserved areas do shorter consultations and tend to substitute time-consuming procedures with alternatives requiring fewer human resources, especially for pain management. Results are robust to considering only GPs newly exposed to low medical density. Findings suggest a significant impact of supply-side shortages on the mix of healthcare services used to treat patients, and point to a plausible increased use of painkillers, opioids in particular.

The quest to expand the coverage of public health insurance in the occupied Palestinian territory: an assessment of feasibility and sustainability using a simulation modelling frameworkJournal articleSameera Awawda, Mohammad Abu-Zaineh et Bruno Ventelou, The Lancet, Volume 393, pp. S17, 2019

In their quest for universal health coverage (UHC), many developing countries explore alternative financing strategies to address the potential budgetary impact of health coverage expansion (for example, deferred debt versus current finance through taxation or premiums). Given the limited fiscal space, these policies may have different implications for fiscal sustainability and may worsen intergenerational inequality.

We assessed the impact of UHC on fiscal sustainability and intergenerational inequality using an overlapping generations model within a general equilibrium framework, which we calibrate using data from the Palestinian Expenditures and Consumption Survey (PECS-2011) and the Social Accounting Matrix (SAM-2011). Fiscal sustainability is assessed using a prudent debt–GDP level of 39%. Intergenerational inequality induced by different policies is assessed by comparing the relative incremental burden (RIB) borne by each generation following the policy adjustment.

In the absence of any policy adjustment, an ad hoc expansion of health coverage would increase the debt–GDP level to 15% above the prudent level. This indicates that the UHC fiscal stance may be financially unsustainable in the long run, therefore calling for a policy adjustment. Among the policies we examined, UHC finance through the increase of premiums (whether current or deferred) seems to be unsustainable and may further widen intergenerational inequality (RIB∈[3,6]). By contrast, current finance through indirect taxes helps to restore a prudent debt–GDP level and seems to be associated with a lower level of intergenerational inequality than deferred-debt finance through direct taxation (RIB of 1·25 and 5, respectively).

Among the policy options assessed, the current indirect taxation emerged as the best policy option in terms of its impact on both fiscal sustainability and intergenerational inequalities. However, from a policy perspective, the capacity of governments to raise additional revenues might be constrained in the short-term. Under such circumstances, deferred-debt finance may be preferred—a situation in which policy makers may have to trade fiscal sustainability against intergenerational inequality.

The A*MIDEX project (number ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02) funded by the French Government programme Investissements d'avenir, managed by the French National Research Agency (ANR).

SA prepared the data, conceived the framework for the study and carried out data analysis. MA-Z developed the framework for the study, carried out data analysis and wrote the Interpretation section. BV developed the framework for the study. All authors have seen and approved the final version of the Abstract for publication.