The UN has declared universal health coverage an urgent global goal. Efforts to achieve this goal have been supported by rigorous research on the scientific, technical, and administrative aspects of health systems design. Yet a substantial portion of the world’s population does not have access to essential health services. There is growing recognition that achieving universal health coverage is a political challenge. However, fundamental concepts from the political science discipline are often overlooked in the health literature. Co-authored in part by Joseph Wong and Kimberly Skean, this Series paper draws on political science research to highlight the ways in which politics can facilitate, or stymie, policy reform.

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