Beating Medicare: How a Developing Nation Manages to Provide a Free-For-All Health Care System

By Jirapat Taechajongjintana. Stanford University. 

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,” states Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNHR). Many nations have developed universal healthcare programs in the spirit of Article 3. In many high-income nations such as Sweden and Norway, universal health coverage systems have been successful; among the low-income and developing countries, where financial and political structures pose a challenge against health care reforms, Thailand has been a forerunner in implementing universal health coverage. After four decades of health infrastructure development, Thailand finally achieved universal health coverage in 2002, providing access to over 47 million people (75% of the population). Against the speculations and critiques of some external experts who believed the universal health coverage would not be financially viable, Thailand’s universal health coverage has continued to improve throughout the past decade, persisting through financial crises and political transitions. Today, it is praised by UN Secretary General as the model of public health policy that can be implemented in low-income and developing nations (“UN Secretary General”). This paper is an analysis of how Thailand’s universal health coverage has developed during the past decade as well as the effects of this public policy on personal finance. The paper will focus on four main issues: [1] The background and past health care policies in Thailand, [2] An overview of Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) policy and its implementation, [3] Effects of the UCS on personal finances, and [4] The future challenges of the UCS policy.

Read the full paper here.

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