The Devastating Weight of Health Care Costs

More than half a billion people were pushed into poverty—or deeper into extreme poverty— because of health care costs, new evidence from the WHO and the World Bank finds. And that was before the pandemic.

COVID-19 has only worsened the situation.

The findings are outlined in 2 complementary reports, launched yesterday for Universal Health Coverage Day: one tracks universal health coverage across the globe, and the other documents financial protection in households.

2 key findings:

  • COVID-19 is likely to disrupt 2 decades of global progress towards universal health coverage. 
  • Up to 90% of all households facing impoverishing health spending are already at or below the poverty line.


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