Universal Health Coverage and Health Outcomes

population

population

Introduction

  1. Japan has been leading efforts to promote Universal Health Coverage (UHC) worldwide. The goal behind these efforts is to improve health outcomes by making access to high-quality health services more affordable and equitably distributed.
  2. UHC means that people have access to the health care services that they need without undue financial hardship. UHC is commonly understood to consist of three interrelated components: the population covered, the range of services made available; and the extent of financial protection from the costs of health services (Stuckler, Feigl, Basu, & McKee, 2010; WHO, 2010).
  3. Nearly all OECD countries have achieved UHC, and their experience should be the main source of evidence as to why UHC is desirable, when it should be introduced, and how it should be achieved. Better understanding of the links between life expectancy and UHC – and of the links between coverage arrangements and gaps between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy – would contribute to efforts to monitor progress towards the achievement of Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development goals.
  4. This report addresses four key questions. First, to what extent has the achievement of UHC in OECD countries contributed to improved population health outcomes? Second, is UHC affordable for low- and middle-income countries? Third, what are the implications of population ageing for the goal of UHC? Fourth, what are the key policies low- and middle-income countries should consider as they approach UHC. These questions are addressed primarily through new quantitative analyses and reviews of policies from both OECD and non-OECD countries. In-depth country case studies provide further lessons of how selected OECD countries have achieved and sustained UHC.

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