Getting to universal health coverage in China and Vietnam

Getting to universal health coverage in China and Vietnam

Tra Tran, Shenglan Tang and Wenhui Mao, Brookings, 3 February 2021

If it was not clear before COVID-19, it is obvious now that achieving the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organization’s Triple Billion Goals will be impossible without universal health coverage (UHC). UHC is measured by the World Health Organization (WHO) along three dimensions: population coverage (who’s covered); service coverage (which services are covered); and financial coverage (what proportion of health service expenses are covered). With limited resources, many trade-offs must be made among these three dimensions. According to a 2017 report by the WHO and World Bank, the past decade’s increase in service coverage is disastrously paralleled with an increase in catastrophic spending. This situation forces people to choose between physical health or financial ruin, a terrible yet common decision many must make.

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