A slowing economy and rising healthcare costs, coupled with a possible crackdown on physicians’ moonlighting, could reverse gains made by Turkey’s decade-long overhaul of its healthcare system.
Broadening access to high-standard healthcare has been lauded as a key achievement of the Justice-and-Development-Party (AKP) government since it came to power in 2002. In 2003, only 24 percent of Turks from the poorest 10 percent of society had health insurance, according to a survey of 25,290 households by the Turkish Statistical Institute. In 2011, that figure had risen to 85 percent of 3,551 households surveyed. Correspondingly, overall satisfaction levels with healthcare among queried households increased from 39.5 percent to 75.9 percent.
But now, economic trends are pointing to a rockier future. “There’s been a significant increase in healthcare expenditure at a rate well above the rate of GDP growth, and that can’t continue forever,” said Martin Raiser, World Bank country director for Turkey.
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