Access to health care should not depend on where people live or how they live!
The Origin Story
Universal Health Care also known as Universal Health Coverage stands for a health care system that provides health care and financial protection to all the citizens. It is the outcome of the World Health Organization (WHO) constitution of 1948, which acknowledged healthcare as a fundamental human right. Following that, the 1978 Declaration of Health for All made the availability of primary health care as the way to achieve health for all by the year 2000.
The year was 2008 when the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a renewed focus on primary health care with the launch of World Health Report. As of 2009, 58 countries have legislation mandating universal health care and attained >90% health insurance coverage. On 2010, WHO analyzed and commissioned a report on Universal health coverage, which is now serving as the axle to several Sustainable Development Goals and for the notion that leaves no one behind irrespective of their financial status and geographical location.
The ultimate expression of fairness
At its core, Universal Health Care focuses on three important things: Equity in access to health services, Quality of health services, and financial risk protection. In short, Universal Health Care brings the hope of a better health care for hundreds of millions of people, transcending poverty.
The primary objective is raising sufficient resources and removing financial barriers to access, especially for the poor. “All countries, at all stages of development, could take immediate steps to move towards universal coverage”, says the WHO. The benefits of the Universal Health Care include
- Equal access to health care
- Improve public health
- Less paper work
- Encourage Entrepreneurship
- Boost Economy
- Becomes a Human Right
Universal health coverage is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer
– Dr. Margaret Chan, 7th Director-General of the World Health Organization
The other side of the coin
However, as all the things, establishing Universal Health Care also has its fair share of disadvantages and some hurdles. Under this concept, everyone is entitled to receive care. This not only increases the number of people in need but also sees a decline in terms of quality care as it doesn’t contribute to the number of doctors available. Also, this is not a free care. Funding must come from somewhere. Typically, this means a rise in taxes.
Due to increase in demand, this type of health care system may often result in long wait times for patients. Not everyone may receive the type of care they actually need. This care system directly depends on the economical status of the country endorsing it and this may backfire on the citizens who are in need of quality care. Several methods such as budgeting, controlled distribution, service restriction and price setting should be given importance to make this dream a reality.
The disadvantages of this system include,
- Long wait time
- The policies need proper rationing
- Indirectly, this is not a free care
- Stalls innovation, as there is no competition
- Increase in Government’s debt
However, with some modifications, Universal health care can be transformed into an ideal health care system with a potential to save millions of lives. Many countries follow the partnership of public-private systems as a tool to deliver the universal health care for their citizens. This can be done effectively in all the countries, even the underdeveloped nations by establishing mutual agreements with other countries and leading global healthcare players. Universal health care gives you financial protection at times of adversity. It can be a system that helps you when you need it the most!