Health Care Financing

Many people suffer financial catastrophe and impoverishment each year because of the costs of health care. Many others forgo health services because of the costs of health care. And for some older people health care does not even exist.

Over the course of several decades there has been insufficient health care spending by many countries, limited prepayment mechanisms and safety nets, and an overreliance on out-of-pocket expenditures to finance the costs of health care.

The global economic downturn poses new challenges to implement and improve health system financing, where global ageing has stressed health care budgets and placing people at risk of marginalization due to large health care expenses and/or illness as a result of inadequate health care.

The World Health Organization developed a new health financing strategy for the Asia Pacific region to address these concerns, with the ultimate aim of achieving universal coverage, where all people have access to appropriate promotional, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services at an affordable cost. In this region specifically, out-of-pocket health spending is much higher compared to other parts of the world, and many suffer from financial misfortune. The proposition of a reduction in out-of-pocket spending and a move towards universal coverage is critical, yet the action is daunting. Developed and developing countries must adjust their health care financing mechanisms to reduce unfairness and implement sustainable health care schemes for people in need.

In this complex subtheme, of particular interest are abstracts that define strategies pertaining to health care financing mechanisms to achieve a sustainable and universal public health insurance system. Also, submissions which examine alternative health care system financing strategies for existing systems are welcomed.