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How Does Universal Health Care Work?

Many countries have achieved universal health coverage (UHC), providing all citizens with financial risk protection and access to essential healthcare services. UHC is an essential element in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 3.8’s target of universal coverage by 2030.

Reaching universal health coverage (UHC) requires political will, leadership and cooperation at all levels of government, civil society, the private sector and communities, as well as building resilient health systems. WHO recommends reorienting health systems towards primary health care (PHC), which provides affordable, equitable and effective care that improves people’s physical and mental wellbeing closer to home while saving costs at the same time. PHC offers significant cost efficiencies.

As part of this right, all people and communities should have access to comprehensive, appropriate, timely quality healthcare defined at a national level without discrimination of any kind. This includes prevention and treatment of disease, injuries and other causes of morbidity and mortality as well as safe effective quality medicines and vaccines; health education/promotion; as well as addressing social determinants which impact on individuals health such as their environment housing income work nutrition physical activity ect – such as environment housing income work nutrition physical activity etc which have an impactful or detrimental impactful on peoples health/wellbeing.

France and Germany, among several post-industrialized Western nations, boast comprehensive health care systems that cover virtually all their citizens at no cost, thanks to longstanding traditions of social protection rooted in the belief that health is both an individual right and collective good. Furthermore, these societies have made advances in addressing underlying factors which contribute to poor health such as environmental and socioeconomic factors which promote unhealthy lifestyles leading to lower life expectancies among certain populations.

Implementing a system to cover every citizen in the US may prove challenging, but other nations’ experience provides valuable lessons about providing a healthier population to increase productivity and lower economic costs.

These countries that invest in the health of their populations reap significant economic rewards by investing in healthcare for both men and women, including lower healthcare costs per capita and greater life expectancies than in the United States.

Though universal healthcare seems beneficial, few Americans are willing to pay for it. Political and cultural barriers present severe obstacles; each American has their own cultural identity, religious beliefs and different regional demographics which influence what coverage should exist. A US-style universal healthcare model would require major upfront expenses as well as significant administrative overhead expenses imposed on it.