This working paper reports an analysis of the evolution of equity in access to health care in Spain over the period 1987-2001, a time span covering the developmentof the modern Spanish National Health System. Our measures of access are the probabilities of visiting a doctor, using emergency services and being hospitalised. For these three measures we obtain indices of horizontal inequity from microeconometric models of utilization that exploit the individual information in the Spanish National Health Surveys of 1987 and 2001.
We find that by 2001 the system has improved in the sense that differences in income no longer lead to different access given the same level of need. However, the tenure of private health insurance leads to differences in access given the same level of need, and its contribution to inequity has increased over time, both because insurance is more concentrated among the rich and because the elasticity of utilization for the three services has increased too.