Chile has a population of 17,4 million and health care expenditures of 21 billion USD which is equivalent to 7,7% of GDP, of which 45% is public and 55% is private spending. The new government under President Bachelet took office in March 2014 and has announced an investment plan of 4 billion USD for the upcoming period, 2014-2018, to expand health coverage for the 80% of the population covered by the public health insurance. By 2018 the goal is to have: 1) completed 20 new hospitals 2) have 20 more hospitals under construction and 3) to have performed the technical studies for another 20 hospitals. 223 new primary care units will be constructed in the same period.
The main challenges for the Chilean health care sector are the typical socio-demographic changes that a society in development experiences; ageing population, a more sedimentary lifestyle and an increase of obesity. Cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes are some of the life style related diseases that are rapidly increasing in Chile.
A top priority for both the private and the public sector is to improve the efficiency of the administration and the management of the health care system. A new tax reform has been approved and will be implemented shortly funded by a rise in corporate taxes. This will further put pressure on private clinics to improve efficiency and productivity to maintain the return of investment.