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The value of socialized medicine: the impact of universal primary healthcare provision on mortality rates in Turkey

journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2017, 00:00 authored by R Cesur, P M Güneş, E Tekin, Aydogan UlkerAydogan Ulker
This paper examines the impact of universal, free, and easily accessible primary healthcare on population health
asmeasured by age-specific mortality rates, focusing on a nationwide socialized medicine programimplemented
in Turkey. The Family Medicine Program (FMP), launched in 2005, assigns each Turkish citizen to a specific stateemployed
family physician who offers a wide range of primary healthcare services that are free-of-charge.
Furthermore, these services are provided at family health centers, which operate on a walk-in basis and are located
within neighborhoods in close proximity to the patients. To identifythecausal impactof theFMP,weexploit thevariation
in its introduction across provinces and over time. Our estimates indicate that the FMP caused the mortality
rate to decrease by 25.6% among infants, 7.7% among the elderly, and 22.9% among children ages 1–4. These estimates
translate into 2.6, 1.29, and 0.13 fewer deaths among infants, the elderly, and children ages 1–4, respectively.
Furthermore, the effects appear to strengthen over time.We also show evidence to suggest that the FMP has contributed
to an equalization of mortality across provinces. Finally, our calculations indicate that each family physician
saves about 0.15, 0.46, and 0.005 lives among infants, the elderly, and children ages 1–4 per province every year.



Journal of public economics




75 - 93




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Elsevier