UHC lessons from Obamacare
The NHI might have progressed to white paper stage, but South Africa is still stuck in the midst of a healthcare crisis. Because ,like it or not, we do not have universal cover, access to quality healthcare is limited to a select few - even if you do have medical aid it's incredibly expensive - and any real resolution is still light years off.
So, sometimes it’s useful to look at how other countries have gone about reforming their healthcare policy. Obamacare is probably the most well known in recent years. Before Trump starting messing with it, that is.
Speaking at the Board of Healthcare Funders
conference, Dr Liz Fowler, former special assistant to President Obama on healthcare and economic policy at the National Economic Council, said the three key lessons that came out of the American experience are:
- Health reform is a long journey
- Plan ahead, lay the groundwork, develop consensus on a framework
- Consider how success will be measured
- Better to have company on the journey
- A broad coalition increases the chances of success<
- Inclusion inspires commitment and generates genuine investment
- The journey of a 1,000 miles starts with one step
- Leverage and build on successful partnerships and programmes
She said in the early stages of Obamacare there was a lot of resistance, not only stakeholders in the healthcare sector, but also from the public, as many of them were comfortable with the cover they already had.
In addition, some of the major questions that needed to be asked were where universal health cover stood in regard to other domestic policy priorities and whether to build on existing healthcare programmes or completely replace the entire system.
“We also had to look at how to phase in major policy changes and early deliverables, and what the appropriate balance was between expanding cover and controlling costs.
“We’re not at universal cover yet, but we're on the right trajectory,” she said.
About Nicci Botha
Nicci Botha has been wordsmithing for more than 20 years, covering just about every subject under the sun and then some. She's strung together words on sustainable development, maritime matters, mining, marketing, medical, lifestyle... and that elixir of life - chocolate. Nicci has worked for local and international media houses including Primedia, Caxton, Lloyd's and Reuters. Her new passion is digital media.