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Public Financing Of Health Vital To Ensuring Universal Access To Health

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why public finance is key to delivering the human right to health
Ban Ki-moon, deputy chair of The Elders and former U.N. Secretary-General

“Health is a human right. When people are not able to access the health care they need, especially if this is for reasons of cost, their human rights are denied. It is vital for the wider fight for rights, justice, and sustainable development that policymakers’ actions are informed by this linkage. … [The process of countries transitioning to universal health coverage (UHC)] is now occurring across the world at all income levels, as governments realize that to reach UHC, it is necessary to replace private voluntary health financing with compulsory public financing. … All countries on the path to UHC face a crossroads: one path leads to a U.S.-style, privately financed fragmented health system … The other is the path increasingly being taken in the rest of the world, where even in highly capitalist economies everyone gets access to care because the state makes the rich pay for the poor. Our advice to U.S. states, to India, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, and other countries approaching the cross roads … is to take [the path toward UHC], as this is the only navigable route to health for all and [for] just, stable, and prosperous societies” (12/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.