Austerity has had a negative impact on health systems.
Government spending cuts to health have entailed the closure of facilities and programs, an increase in a vast range of patient charges and longer waiting times. Health is not receiving enough government spending under austerity measures. This is a strange approach to take, because public spending to health, along with education, has been found to have the highest fiscal multipliers (benefits over the mid- to long-term).
Since austerity measures were introduced, there has been an increase in suicide rates in Europe and the US, as well as infant mortality rates in Greece post GFC. Further, stillbirths have increased and the amount of HIV infections between drug users has increased (a consequence of major reductions in funding needle exchange programs). In this way, public spending cuts to health and austerity generally can be seen to have produced bad results in health. Exchanging public debt for an increase in HIV infections would not be a trade many people would choose to make. Moreover, many of these cuts will have long-lasting social and financial consequences.
As an example, in 2012 Spain switched from a universal health system to an employment-based system. This means that those who are without employment receive a very different level of care to those in employment. This is indicative of many austerian policies: those who cannot afford it are hit the hardest, while those at the top remain unscathed.
Examples like the proposed $7 GP co-payment in Australia, and cuts to public education campaigns around preventative health, show how austerity policies designed to save money today will end up costing us all socially and economically in the future.