As governments attempt to get their finances back into balance, many have cut back on a wide range of spending commitments. Some governments such as the UK have chosen to protect spending on healthcare, though that spend is no longer rising at its previous rate leading some campaigners to accuse the government of imposing "cuts" (see this BBC news story).
One argument used by those who propose increases in health spending is that health spending is good for the economy. A recent analysis by some health economists sympathetic to this view appeared recently in BiomedCentral. They summarise the debate well:
The Great Recession that beset Europe and North America since 2007 has sparked widespread debate about alternative approaches to achieving economic recovery. Much of the discussion has centred on the ques- tion of whether government spending will promote or inhibit economic growth. Critics of government spending argue, first, that such spending has an immediate effect of increasing debt which, if associated with a loss of confidence by investors, will also increase the cost of servicing that debt as a consequence of increased inter- est rates. Second, they argue that, by “crowding out” private markets and, by implication, their assumed greater efficiency, they will inhibit the growth necessary for recovery. In contrast, advocates of greater spending during recessionary periods, which are characterized by unemployment and deficits, argue that the effects of short term increases in borrowing will be compensated for by higher growth resulting from a high marginal propensity to consume, generating positive cycles of consumption and employment growth. Many of these arguments have been tested empirically.
They proceed to make an econometric argument that spending more on health would boost the economy arguing:
Our findings indicate that government spending on health may have short-term effects that make recovery more likely.
I'm slightly suspicious of their conclusion as BiomedCentral isn't exactly a mainstream Economics journal and the authors have known bias on the topic.
So is their conclusion that health spending will boost an economy economically sound?