About Xianguo HuangXianguo Huang is a researcher at the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomics Research Office (AMRO), Singapore. His research areas include public finance, social security, and population aging. He holds a PhD in public economics from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, and was awarded an MA in business administration from Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Universal health coverage (UHC) has become a key agenda of policy makers in many countries. According to the definition of the World Health Organization (2010), UHC is the goal that “all people have access to health services and do not suffer financial hardship in paying for them.” In most developing countries, the goal of UHC is not easy to reach due to the fact that large, resource-poor populations have limited access to health services. Given that resource-poor people cannot afford out-of-pocket health expenditures, or can only afford them by sacrificing other priorities, a health financing system where people are required to pay for use directly is one of the major barriers to reaching UHC. Although cost sharing is necessary to prevent the overutilization of health services arising from the potential problem of moral hazard, universal coverage is more likely to be reached when the out-of-pocket ratio for direct payment is sufficiently low.
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