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We appreciated the renewed commitment of the OECD to a new generation of health reforms with “people at the centre”, within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, as declared in the ministerial statement of OECD Member States. For this narrative to have significant meaning in ensuring that no one is left behind requires greater attention in addressing the social determinants of health.
The tightening of health and social care budgets as austerity measures become the norm for governments must be reversed, curbing ineffective spending and freeing more resources for services delivery. This requires structural reforms that cut down monopoly distortions driven by pharmaceutical corporations and for-profit insurance companies, as identified by the United Nations High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.
A first step towards a new generation of health reforms that puts the people at its centre would be the recognition of health as a fundamental human right. The future of health which puts people over profit is to be found in universal public healthcare. Without this, the policy of people-centred care in practice “works against the interests of both patients and health workers”, as the PSI briefing on the future of health reveals.