International Universal Health Coverage Day - 12 December.

Every year December 12th marks International Universal Health Coverage Day as a way to urge countries to accelerate progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The day also seeks to promote the idea that access to affordable quality health care is a human right.

Universal health coverage is a system that provides quality medical care to all of its citizens. The federal government offers health care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Out of 33 developed countries, only the United States is without universal health coverage. In 2010, President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This, however, is not considered universal health care.

Some of the advantages of universal health coverage include:

  • Lowers the overall cost of health care
  • Lowers administrative costs
  • Standardizes services
  • Prevents future social costs

There are some disadvantages as well. These include long wait times for medical services, health care costs overwhelming government budgets, and healthy people paying for the sickest.

Despite these cons, the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO strongly advocates for universal health coverage. WHO states that UHC means that all people and communities can use the health services they need without the threat of financial hardship. UHC is based on the WHO constitution of 1948 that declares health a fundamental human right. WHO believes that UHC also brings hope of better health and protection for the world’s poorest.

On December 12th, 2012 the UN General Assembly made it a priority to accelerate the progress toward Universal Health Coverage. In 2015, the UN adopted a target of universal health coverage by 2030. This included access to quality essential health care services and safe and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. On December 12th, 2017 the UN passed a resolution on global health and foreign policy that addressed the health of the most vulnerable populations. On that same day, the UN proclaimed December 12th as International Universal Health Coverage Day. 

This year’s theme: “Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in health systems for all.” 

Source: www.un.org


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