Universal Health Coverage: A Political Struggle and Governance Challenge

by Scott L. Greer and Claudio A. Méndez
American Journal of Public Health: November 2015, Vol. 105, No. S5, pp. S637-S639

3 pp. 451 kB

Universal health coverage has become a rallying cry in health policy, but it is often presented as a consensual, technical project. It is not. A review of the broader international literature on the origins of universal coverage shows that it is intrinsically political and cannot be achieved without recognition of its dependence on, and consequences for, both governance and politics. On one hand, a variety of comparative research has shown that health coverage is associated with democratic political accountability. Democratization, and in particular left-wing parties, gives governments particular cause to expand health coverage. On the other hand, governance, the ways states make and implement decisions, shapes any decision to strive for universal health coverage and the shape of its implementation.

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