Yesterday morning’s Guardian article Universal healthcare: the affordable dream cheered me up. I was delighted to hear about developments in health care free at the point of delivery in Thailand, Rwanda and Bangladesh as well as Cuba and Kerala in India. Suggesting that something like the British National Health Service is universally affordable.
Indeed, as Mehrota and Delaminoica showed some years ago, investing in the basic health of the population has benefits for the economy more generally, although they do use the GDP as a measure of this as noted in this review by SSM’s Mark Burton (Journal of Health Management, 11, 2 (2009): 431–435).
Does Sen’s article in the Guardian ignore the importance of wider public health measures? For example, Kerala’s impressive health statistics (comparable with the USA while incomes are massively lower) may have more to do with land reform, education, position of women and small family size than clinical services; this is not explored. Universal health care needs to address the wider determinants of health as well as preventive and clinical services.
Nevertheless, it is great news!