The Protective Effects of Universal Healthcare on the Spread and Containment of COVID-19
Hale, Ryan R
During the last several years, the World Health Organization and United Nations have advocated for universal healthcare (UHC) adoption around the world. This effort has been brought into sharper focus by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, little direct evidence has been developed to measure the effect of universal healthcare on the containment of pandemic and epidemics. This thesis serves to fill this gap in the literature by studying the how the level of universality in a country’s health system impacts COVID-19 cases, deaths, and tests. In addition, this research will show the influence of the component parts of UHC, financial protection and service coverage, on COVID-19 cases, deaths, and tests. Regression analysis in the form of a negative binomial regression model was performed to study the impact of universal healthcare on these COVID-19 outcomes. The findings from this analysis demonstrate that countries with higher levels of universal healthcare are associated with fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths. Service coverage and financial protection are also shown to be negatively associated with COVID-19 cases and deaths. Because of the negative relationship found between UHC and COVID-19 cases and deaths, it was determined that universal healthcare provided protective effects on the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, likely through increased cooperation and coordination between various levels of the healthcare system and the reduction of compromising comorbidities in the population. Therefore, policymakers around the world should promote universal healthcare implementation, both for its benefits to individuals and its helpfulness in the control of future epidemics and pandemics.