In the context of healthcare benefits to all, political will at both the Centre and state levels is critical for implementation of various government health programs. As ACCESS Health compares data among countries that have been successful in achieving universal health coverage, they see several common strategies: prioritizing primary care, improving the quality of healthcare services, transitioning from incremental budgeting to a more performance and needs based budget allocation, defining the purchasing and providing split, emphasizing evidence based decision making. Moreover, across all countries, the success of universal health coverage reforms rests upon strong political commitment and leadership.
In Thailand, universal health coverage became a political priority in the 2000 elections. Reformers, civil society, and technocrats mobilized together to create a political force that led to almost full universal health coverage in a middle-income country, in seemingly record time.
This case study was discussed in detail at a recent high level policy consultation on health financing in India, hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. Representatives from several member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) attended, the conference, in addition to representatives from Thailand and the Philippines. The countries came together to share experiences in achieving successful universal health coverage The conference focused at length on health financing in the context of the many challenges and variations across India.
International and national experts debated the role of the different central ministries and state governments in healthcare financing, particularly in the context of fiscal devolution, and suggested a way forward.
Key lessons learned from various country experiences focused on five areas, which ACCESS Health discusses in greater detail, at http://accessh.org/feature-investing-in-healthcare-a-comparative-study-in-healthcare-financing-across-countries-lessons-help-india-improve-its-health-delivery/