Universal health coverage, priority setting and the human right to health

Benedict Rumbold, Rachel Baker, Octavio Ferraz, Sarah Hawkes, Carleigh Krubiner, Peter Littlejohns, Ole Frithjof Norheim, Thomas Pegram, Annette Rid, Sridhar Venkatapuram, Alex Voorhoeve, Daniel Wang, Albert Weale, James Wilson, Alicia Ely Yamin, Paul Hunt

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Abstract

As health policy-makers around the world seek to make progress towards universal health coverage they must navigate between two important ethical imperatives: to set national spending priorities fairly and efficiently; and to safeguard the right to health. These imperatives can conflict, leading some to conclude that rights-based approaches present a disruptive influence on health policy, hindering states’ efforts to set priorities fairly and efficiently. Here, we challenge this perception. We argue first that these points of tension stem largely from inadequate interpretations of the aims of priority setting as well as the right to health. We then discuss various ways in which the right to health complements traditional concerns of priority setting and vice versa. Finally, we set out a three-step process by which policy-makers may navigate the ethical and legal considerations at play.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Lancet
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • health coverage
  • health economics
  • universal health coverage

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    Rumbold, B., Baker, R., Ferraz, O., Hawkes, S., Krubiner, C., Littlejohns, P., Norheim, O. F., Pegram, T., Rid, A., Venkatapuram, S., Voorhoeve, A., Wang, D., Weale, A., Wilson, J., Ely Yamin, A., & Hunt, P. (2017). Universal health coverage, priority setting and the human right to health. The Lancet. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30931-5