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Int J Equity Health. 2013 Feb 4;12:13. doi: 10.1186/1475-9276-12-13.

Redistributive effects of the National Health Insurance on physicians in Taiwan: a natural experiment time series study.

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  • 1Department of Health Care Management, National Taipei University ofNursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan.



Previous studies have evaluated the effects of various health manpower policies but did not include full consideration of the effect of universal health insurance on physician re-distribution. This study examines the effects of implementing National Health Insurance (NHI) on the problem of geographic mal-distribution of health providers in Taiwan.


Data on health providers and population between 1971 and 2001 are obtained from relevant governmental publications in Taiwan. Gini coefficients derived from the Lorenz curve are used under a spline regression model to examine the impact of the NHI on the geographic distribution of health providers.


The geographic distribution equality of the three key health providers has improved significantly after the implementation of NHI program. After accounting for the influences of other confounding factors, Gini coefficients of the three key providers have a net reduction of 1.248% for dentists, 0.365% for western medicine physicians, and 0.311% for Chinese medicine physicians. Overall, the absolute values of the three key providers' Gini coefficients also become close to one another.


This study found that NHI's offering universal health coverage to all citizens and with proper financial incentives have resulted in more equal geographic distributions among the key health care providers in Taiwan.

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