Universal Health Care
Universal Access to Health Care implies that everyone within a country can access health services on the basis of need. For this to happen, health services will have to be organized in such a way that everyone will get the same range of services as per need. There is thus an inalienable relationship between equity and universality. By UAHC, we do not mean that all citizens will have access to each and every kind of health intervention. But commonly required health services as well as life saving interventions needed in acute cases should be ‘universally’ available.
It has become a need of the hour to concretise models and shape public opinion and policy towards a regulated system for Universal Access to Health care, as a key strategy for reduction of health inequities and reduction of irrational health care expenditure. Any model of Universal Health Care, should address three important components of UAHC, namely provisioning, financing and regulation and monitoring.
Important points regarding the system for UAHC that SATHI envisages are as follows:
- Public funding needs to play a central role. We need to move from current 20% of total health care spending from public funds, to at least half of health spending being from public sources, which may be reached in coming 5 to 10 years by a quantum jump in public health care funding.
- There should be a single payer mechanism for an organized healthcare system, integrating public and regulated private providers to provide health care to all.
- No fees should be charged for services at point of delivery. Resources to be raised mainly through the tax and social insurance route.
- A set of comprehensive health services should be offered to all without significant exclusion and with no targeting.
- Policy and regulatory action should ensure that the private sector is regulated and brought in to contribute to universal access.
- By covering the entire population, and not just the poorest (‘BPL’ in officialschemes) it should be ensured that the well off sections subsidise the poorer sections, in a form of society-wide cross subsidization.