Editor’s note: I wrote this piece for publication in November’s edition of Al Jazeera Magazine, accessible through downloading on iTunes or other Apple (only) devices. Re-posted here for those, like me, who persist in using PC-based machines.
The idea that every person should have access to affordable, basic health care is hardly new, but many believe there is new global momentum toward achieving this worldwide.
While U.S. politicians and pundits squabble over the relatively modest aims of Obamacare, policy makers in nearly every other country have either already adopted a system or embraced the goal of universal health coverage as a critical component of their economic, social and development strategy.
“I would say it is not just feasible, but unavoidable,” said Ariel Pablos-Méndez, a key player in this movement and assistant administrator for global health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“We’re in a fundamentally different place today,” agreed Tim Evans, director of health, nutrition and population at the World Bank.
“The demand for universal health coverage is not coming from advocates or from experts just saying this is a good idea. This is being driven by citizens at the country level, a phenomenon politicians ignore at their peril.” Continue reading