Colombia’s record in extending health insurance and health services to its population is impressive. In 1990, around 1 in 6 of the population had health insurance. Now, nearly 97% do, with greatest expansion occurring amongst poorer households. Likewise, in 1993 out-of-pocket spending made up 52% of total national expenditure on health. By 2006, this had fallen to less than 15%. Although Colombia has high rates of income inequality (with a Gini coefficient of 53.5 in 2012, compared to the OECD average of 32.2), access to health care services is much more equal. In urban populations, for example, 1.8% of children aged less than two years of age are recorded as having received no routine vaccinations, compared to 1.0% of rural children. Colombia nevertheless faces important challenges to maintain and improve the performance of its health system. This report looks at Colombia’s health care system in detail and offers recommendations on what Colombia can do to ensure accessibility, quality, efficiency and sustainability.
Tackling mental ill-health of the working-age population is a key issue for labour market and social policies in OECD countries. OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in keeping people with mental ill-health in employment or bringing those outside of the labour market back to it, and in preventing mental illness. This report on Australia is the ninth and last in a series of reports looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It concludes that policy thinking in Australia shows well-advanced awareness both of the costs of mental illness for society as a whole and of the health benefits of employment. However, challenges remain in: making employment issues a concern of the health care services; helping young people succees in their future working lives; making the workplace a safe, supportive psychosocial environment; and better designing and targeting employment services for jobseekers with mental ill-health.
Being able to directly measure all the above aspects would be extremely useful but economists and analysts usually face severe data limitations (e.g. small sample size, data comparability, measurement error etc.) and are, in many instances, forced to use second-best proxies to describe skills and build indicators.
The 10-year anniversary edition of Pensions at a Glance highlights the pension reforms undertaken by OECD and G20 countries over the last two years. Two special chapters provide deeper analysis of first-tier pension schemes and of the impact of short or interrupted careers, due to late entry into employment, childcare or unemployment, on pension entitlements. Another chapter analyses the sensitivity of long-term pension replacement rates on various parameters. A range of indicators for comparing pension policies and their outcomes between OECD and G20 countries is also provided.
The Pension Policy Notes summarise the main features of countries’ pension systems and the policy challenges each of them faces and the Pension Policy Reviews provide an in-depth analysis of the different components of countries’ pension systems.
Youth who have disconnected from the education system and are not working or planning to return to training are at high risk of marginalisation. Review of programs and other initiatives to re-connect.
High-skilled jobs as an important driver of overall employment growth in the EU and the impact of high-skill job creation goes beyond the highly educated workforce. If European regions are very unequal in terms of high-skill intensity, they are converging slowly.
Australia’s health system functions remarkably well, despite operating under a complex set of institutions that make coordinating patient care difficult. Complications arising from a split in federal and state government funding and responsibilities are central to these challenges. This fragmented health care system can disrupt the continuity of patient care, lead to a duplication of services and leave gaps in care provision. Supervision of these health services by different levels of government can manifest in avoidable impediments such as the poor transfer of health information, and pose difficulties for patients navigating the health system. Adding to the Australian system’s complexity is a mix of services delivered through both the public and private sectors. To ease health system fragmentation and promote more integrated services, Australia should adopt a national approach to quality and performance through an enhanced federal government role in steering policy, funding and priority setting. The states, in turn, should take on a strengthened role as health service providers, with responsibility for primary care devolved to the states to better align it with hospital services and community care. A more strategic role for the centre should also leave room for the strategic development of health services at the regional level, encouraging innovation that is responsive to local population need, particularly in rural and remote areas.
Older workers earn more than younger workers with the same skills. So what explains the lower return to skill among younger, less-experienced workers? Employers may need time to learn about (and reward) the true skills of young workers. “Experience and the returns to education and skill in OECD countries, Evidence of employer learning?” published in the OECD Journal: Economic Studies.
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This edition of Migration Policy Debates provides an assessment of the possible economic impact of the refugee crisis. It stresses that while there will obviously be short-term costs arising from such large flows, there will also be sizeable economic and public-finance benefits provided refugees are integrated into the labour market.