Ageing population and health care services in the Asia Pacific region

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Ageing and politics: Consequences for Asia and Europe (Panorama: Insights into Asian and European affairs series), ISSN: 0119-5204, Page: 91-117

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CHAN, Cheung Ming, Alfred; TANG, P. K., Phoebe; MA, Hok Ka Carol
book chapter description
Population ageing is an unprecedented phenomenon happening around the world. In the Asia Pacific region, it has become an issue of concern since the last decade, due mainly to the rapid increase of aged population combined with the ever-decreasing fertility rate in the region. Having seen the failures of our counterparts in Europe and the United States, whose age-care systems are financed with high taxation to sustain the level of security for aged care as aged population continues to grow while labour participation declines, there are clear signs in developed economies in the Asia Pacific region (e.g., Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong) that if the Western model of aged care (i.e., aged care services mainly financed by public revenue) is followed, the same end results will prevail (i.e., unattainable economy). This is particularly evident in health care services where demands increase with age. Countries like Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong are all vigorously investigating alternatives for their health care systems. The good news for Asians is that we are living longer and healthier, but equally this is bad news for policy makers in balancing service demands, supplies, and financial sustainability. In noting that the Western models are less sustainable, such as the insurance model in the US, and the public welfare models in European countries, many Asian countries are in the process of finding good-fit alternatives for sustaining a health care system in facing population ageing.