As the United States continues to grapple with deep divisions on universal health coverage—as evidenced byreactions to last week’s Supreme Court hearings on the subject—Americans may be able to learn from health reform efforts in Mexico and other countries.
Julio Frenk, dean of Harvard School of Public Health and former Mexico health minister, and David de Ferranti, president of the Results for Development Institute in Washington and a distinguished visiting fellow at HSPH, wrote an April 5, 2012 New York Times op-ed outlining several important factors to consider for successful health reform.
Except for the United States, the 25 wealthiest nations have some form of universal health coverage and others are working toward it, Frenk and de Ferranti wrote. Citing Mexico’s experience, they wrote that successful reform must be based several factors: compelling evidence that it will help society; adequate resources and efficient spending; enough capacity to meet demand; proof that reforms actually deliver what they promise; and continuous evaluation to ensure improvement.
“Experience from elsewhere—including lessons about what not to do—can help the United States to better craft whatever is best for its own unique needs and preferences,” the authors wrote.