Dutch Study By Professor of Economics Shows That “Patients Whose GP Knows Complementary Medicine Have Lower Costs and Live Longer”

Professor Peter Kooreman at the Department of Economics at Tilburg University has completed a study that concludes:

“Overall, the results provide strong evidence of substantially lower costs for general practitioners who have additional training in complementary medicine. “

The study, by this eminent economist suggests that homeopathy, along with acupuncture and anthroposophical medicine could save governments significant amounts of health care costs and also that patients of complimentary practitioners are healthier after alternative treatment and live longer.

He also added in his conclusion that:

“Note that insurees interested in complementary medicine are more likely to buy supplementary insurance since Complimentary Alternative Medicine- CAM is not covered by basic health insurance. This would imply that the marginal out-of-pocket expenses for these insurees are lower than for insurees with a conventional GP, leading to more consumption of health care. Yet, we find that the costs of patients with a GPC are lower. This suggests that if we could control for the endogeneity of the supplementary insurance decision (with additional data), the estimated cost differences might be even larger.

Finally, several studies that compare the health status of patients treated in CAM and in conventional medicine in primary care settings find that patients treated in CAM practices suffer more often from severe and chronic  illnesses [prior to seeking CAM help] (e.g., Esch et al, 2008; Florica et al, 2009). This suggests that if we could control for severity and chronicity of illnesses (with additional data), the estimated cost differences might be even larger.”

Peter Kooreman is a professor in the Department of Economics of Tilburg University. His current primary field of research and teaching is health economics. Other research interests are household and consumer behavior, social interactions, and public choice. His publications include articles in the American Economic Review, Economic Journal, European Economic Review, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Public Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, and other journals.


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