National Institute for Public Health and the Environment Expenditure on healthcare will continue to rise until 2060 by an average of 2.8 percent a year

Expenditure on healthcare is expected to continue rising until 2060. Without any policy changes, the costs will increase by an average of around 2.8 percent a year. Most of the spending will be on hospital care (96 billion), while expenditure on mental healthcare will go up fivefold. These claims are made by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (NIVM) in a study carried out on behalf of the WRR.

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Expenditure on healthcare and the sick

As well as spending on hospital care, expenditure on care for the disabled, the elderly and mental healthcare are set to rise too (by 30 billion euros). The increase in expenditure on dementia, cancer and cardiovascular diseases will be particularly heavy. By 2060, it is estimated that the overall costs will be 291 billion euros.

Social benefits of healthcare

In a second study for the WRR, the RIVM has set out the social benefits of healthcare. Healthcare in the Netherlands swallows up a lot of funds. However, it also provides benefits, most notably health and prosperity. The costs of healthcare will rise in the future. That means choices will have to be made, given that other aspects of our prosperity cost money too. By looking not just at expenditure on healthcare, policymakers and politicians are better placed to consider how much should be spent in that area. It is therefore important to know what the social benefits of healthcare are, and whether they are worth the costs involved.

Both studies were carried out before the Netherlands was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. For that reason, the impact of the pandemic has not been included in this study.

The WRR uses the findings of the RIVM to explore the long-term viability of the Dutch healthcare system.