Why Universal Health Care Is No Cure-All

Title Why Universal Health Care Is No Cure-All
Year 2014
Author C. Kenny
URL http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-12-08/why-universal-health-care-is-no-cure-all
Document Type Webpage
Document Availability Full Text
Classification Policy
Abstract There’s good news to report on health care in America. Obamacare has increased coverage by 10 million people, spending growth has dramatically declined, and preventable hospital errors such as drug mistakes fell 17 percent from 2010 to 2013, saving 50,000 lives. In the U.S., at least, it appears possible to increase efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and access all at the same time. The picture is less positive across much of the developing world. While the call for universal health care in every country is now the official stance of the World Health Organization, attempts to meet that goal have often seen limited returns. The overwhelming focus on quantity of care is ignoring a massive problem with quality and efficiency. Unless that’s addressed, a lot of money will be spent on expanding access—with little impact. A World Bank review of extending universal health coverage in developing countries found that providing subsidized or free care did increase access to those services, especially by the poorest people. Such schemes also reduced recipients’ out-of-pocket expenses associated with health care. There were also some successes related to health outcomes. Argentina’s Plan Nacer, for example, provided services to pregnant women and young children, which was associated with a 2 percentage point reduction in early newborn mortality.


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