July 1, 2016

Why is it useless to predict future health expenditures?

National spending on health by source for 184 countries between 2013 and 2040

The Lancet has just published a new estimate of the size of health expenditures in the future up to 2040. Too often nobody looks backward and check what predictions said before. If somebody does it, it will get a surprise for the first time, however the following ones he will convey that predictions are useless, because there are too many uncertain situations to take into account. Basically most of the hypothesis are flawed. Take this statement from the article:
Despite remarkable health gains, past health fnancing trends and relationships suggest that many low-income and lower-middle-income countries will not meet internationally set health spending targets and that spending gaps between low-income and high-income countries are unlikely to narrow unless substantive policy interventions occur. Although gains in health system efficiency can be used to make progress, current trends suggest that meaningful increases in health system resources will require concerted action.
Is there anybody that can tell me what "internationally set health spending targets" are?.  Who sets them?. If anybody wants to check what I'm saying, have a look at the cutbacks from the great recession and the estimates by OECD or EU. Everybody was saying that technology innovation and aging would boost health expenditures forever, and now we know that this is not true. Forget the article. Distrust the fortune-tellers.