What Is Universal Health Care?


Quick Answer

Universal health care is a type of health care system in which all people have access to health services while enjoying financial protection against exorbitant service costs. The type of services that are offered, alongside the amount of cost covered, depends on the level of government involvement.

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Full Answer

To establish universal health care, a country needs to have an efficient health system in place that uses a financing system that shifts the financial burden from the individual to the collective. Additionally, universal coverage requires access to essential medicines, modern medical technology and a well-trained medical staff. According to the World Health Organization, universal health care represents a critical component in the endeavor to reduce poverty and social inequities, in addition to ensuring sustainable development, as having access to adequate health care allows people to effectively contribute to their communities. The concept of universal health care is based on the WHO constitution of 1948 that declared health to be one of the fundamental human rights.

As of 2014, the United States is the only industrialized and wealthy nation in the world that does not provide some form of universal coverage for its citizens. Universal health care is typically criticized in America on the basis that it would significantly raise taxes, while support comes from people who argue that it would drastically reduce the number of instances in which citizens declare bankruptcy on account of medical expenses they can’t cover.

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