ILO: US health care law can help close gaps in social security coverage

29 June 2012
Rally for better health care
The recent decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s health care law has created a heated public debate. Not only the law - but also the debate itself is quite beneficial, according to an ILO expert.

– The health care overhaul law in the United States can go a long way in helping to close the social security coverage gaps which currently affect some 30 million people in the country, the International Labour Organization (ILO) says.

“The new legislation can certainly help people who currently have no access to health care and is very much in line with our efforts to expand social protection throughout the world,” says Dr. Xenia Scheil-Adlung, Health Policy Coordinator at the ILO’s Social Security Department to ILO news.

The recent decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s health care law has created a heated public debate in the country.

Health protection – this is what the new US law is all about - is the first pillar of what the ILO calls the social protection floor, which is a nationally-defined set of basic social security guarantees. The ILO has recently adopted a new international recommendation on social protection floors.

Dr. Scheil-Adlung said the controversy that the health care law has generated in the US is actually a good thing.

“The new ILO Recommendation makes it clear that social protection needs to be defined at national levels and should be discussed with all stakeholders including civil society. So the current debate taking place in the US around social protection can be beneficial in a way,” she said.
 
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