The promise and peril of universal health care

Universal health care (UHC) is garnering growing support throughout the world, a reflection of social and economic progress and of the recognition that population health is both an indicator and an instrument of national development. Substantial human and financial resources will be required to achieve UHC in any of the various ways it has been conceived and defined. Progress toward achieving UHC will be aided by new technologies, a willingness to shift medical tasks from highly trained to appropriately well-trained personnel, a judicious balance between the quantity and quality of health care services, and resource allocation decisions that acknowledge the important role of public health interventions and nonmedical influences on population health.