The Necessity of Universal Health Care

The biggest health challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean isn’t a single disease or condition, and it won’t be solved by aiming money at a single risky behavior. The biggest challenge is that people do not always get the healthcare they need.

The biggest health challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean isn’t a single disease or condition, and it won’t be solved by aiming money at a single risky behavior. The biggest challenge is that people do not always get the healthcare they need.

Many people live far from a health care provider, and distance costs both time and money. Moreover, cultural barriers reduce the wellbeing of those who do not speak the dominant language, especially indigenous communities. In other cases, people don’t realize they need care, or don’t follow a doctor’s directions when they do. Similarly, mistaken beliefs are often a problem: for example, diabetes is referred to colloquially as “sugar,” and diabetics can erroneously believe that curbing sugar intake is the only thing they need to do.

Finance is another great barrier. In Mexico, before recent reforms, 2-4 million households either spent 30% or more of their disposable income or fell below the poverty line because of catastrophic health spending. Others simply do without needed care.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/agK0rIb;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.