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Unanswered Questions About Universal Health Coverage Remain

Noting the WHO meeting on universal health coverage held earlier this week, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and health economist Ursula Giedion write in the CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog, “While the term ‘universal’ signals that the entire population will be ‘covered,’ an unanswered question is: covered with what? Another way to put the question: What health benefits or interventions would represent coverage, taking into account UHC’s implicit goals of improved health, equity and financial protection?” They review several research papers examining these questions and state, “Ideally, the selection of these services and technologies would be based on cost-effectiveness with respect to health outcomes, and would also take equity, financial protection and social values into account. Further, the design and adjustment of the plan would ideally utilize a transparent and fair deliberative process that considers evidence and social values in a systematic way” (2/20).