Health financing for universal coverage

Key points about raising revenue

Out-of-pocket payments are a particularly regressive way to fund health services.

Ministries of Health should aim to move towards a predominant reliance on public funding for health, in order to move towards universal health coverage.

When countries rely mostly on private sources to fund their health systems, many households miss out care or face serious financial difficulties accessing the services they need.

Public funding includes a range of direct and indirect taxes, including mandatory contributions to a health insurance scheme.

Two important health system goals are equity in finance and financial protection for service users. Meeting these goals has implications for the way in which revenues are raised.

Revenue raising policy needs to be coordinated with pooling and purchasing arrangements to strengthen the positive impact on health system performance. Policy makers should take a holistic perspective when developing policy.

Dialogue between the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance typically focuses on the priority given to health in budget allocations. When making the case for health, it is important to provide evidence of efficient and effective health spending.