A doctor wearing a white coat and a stethoscope holds a tablet with small icons in a honeycomb formation appear emanating from the screen
Article/journal, Government & politics, Human rights & justice, Public policy, Asian Institute, Munk School

The politics of universal health coverage

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.

This Series paper draws on political science research to highlight the ways in which politics can facilitate, or stymie, policy reform. Specifically, we present a framework of analysis that explores how interests, ideas, and institutions shape universal health coverage. We then examine key considerations relating to the implementation of relevant policies. This Series paper shows that a political understanding of universal health coverage is needed to achieve health for all.