September 18, 2021

The right to healthcare access

 Population Health and Human Rights

From NEJM article:

The study of population health encompasses two main objects of analysis: the health conditions affecting a population (the frequency, distribution, and determinants of diseases and risk factors) and the organized social response to those conditions, particularly the way in which that response is articulated in the health system, including the principles and rules that determine who has access to which services and at what cost to whom. These services include both clinical and public health interventions. Since the 19th century, national health systems have sought to provide health services to an increasing proportion of the population, using four eligibility principles: purchasing power, poverty, socially defined priority, and social rights. Reliance on purchasing power means that access is  determined by ability to pay, with governments limiting their role to basic regulation. Because this principle excludes many people, governments have historically intervened to expand access, either through public assistance programs covering families with incomes below a predetermined level or through social insurance schemes for prioritized groups (e.g., the armed forces, industrial workers, civil servants, or older adults). All these eligibility principles result in only  partial coverage, but the ideal of universality has influenced public policy in most countries, though the design and performance of health systems vary widely.