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Ms. Evridiki Tsounta
Despite the increasing interest in universal health care, little is known about the optimal way to finance, design, and implement it. This paper attempts to fill this gap by providing some general policy recommendations on this important issue. While most of the paper addresses the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) countries, its policy implications are applicable to any country. The paper finds that the best financing option is country-specific depending on a country’s economic, cultural, institutional, demographic and epidemiological characteristics, as well as political economy considerations. However, taxation should be the primary financing source. It also concludes that an appropriate and realistic benefit package would need to be designed to ensure the system’s financial viability. Regarding the optimal way to implement universal health care, certain preconditions are needed, including sound public administration, a small informal economy, and a transparent health financing system that builds social consensus.
Ms. Evridiki Tsounta

implications for its long-term financial sustainability. According to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (2005) study based on a sample of 26 countries governments, hospitals and physicians are seen as having the greatest opportunity to eliminate wasteful spending in health care. In this paper, two methods are used to assess the efficiency of the ECCU health system: One method calculates health costs across countries, after accounting for the different demographic structure in each country; countries with older average populations would naturally have higher health cost