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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.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Containment as Told in One Chart, ” Health Affairs , published online before print, doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.w2.83 . Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) , 2012 , “ What is Driving U.S. Health Care Spending: America’s Unsustainable Health Care Cost Growth, ” September . Clements , Benedict , David Coady , and Sanjeev Gupta , 2012 , The Economics of Public Health Care Reform in Advanced and Emerging Economies ( International Monetary Fund : Washington, DC ). Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) , 2012 , “ Analysis of Factors Leading

Patrick Petit, Mario Mansour, and Mr. Philippe Wingender

problem could involve revisiting broader policies affecting prices and consumption, such as the taxation of food under general sales taxes, regulation, and subsidies. Patrick Petit and Mario Mansour are Senior Economists and Philippe Wingender is an Economist, all in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department . References: Finkelstein , Eric A. , Justin G. Trogdon , Joel W. Cohen , and William Dietz , 2009 , “ Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer-and Service-Specific Estimates ,” Health Affairs , Vol. 28 , No. 5 , pp. 822 – 31