Private Sector Involvement in Healthcare and UHC: An Assessment in Light of the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health

New publication by Brigit Toebes and Antenor Hallo de Wolf

The goal of UHC (Universal Health Coverage) is to ‘ensure that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them’. There are many dense connections between the goal of UHC, and the State’s legal obligation to realize the human right to the highest attainable standard of health (‘right to health’). In light of this goal, it is important to assess private sector involvement in the health sector. For example, private actors may not always have the incentives to deal with externalities that affect availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of health care related services; they may not be in the position to provide ‘public goods’; or they may be subjected to imperfect information. The main question that this paper sets out to answer is: what are the legal human rights obligations imposed on States to regulate private sector involvement in healthcare?

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