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Covid-19 shows health spending is broken – here’s how to fix it

We should treat human wellbeing as a long-term investment rather than a short-term cost. First is the need to create the fiscal space necessary to significantly increase public investment. Dal Financial Times.

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When G20 finance and health ministers meet this week as part of the summit in Rome, health funding must be at the top of their agenda. Additional money is urgently needed to address the current pandemic and shape preparations for future threats. The leaders of the IMF, World Health Organization, World Bank and WTO have already joined together to advise that “investing $50bn to end the pandemic would pay a huge dividend in development and would boost growth and wellbeing globally. But the longer we wait to act, the costlier action becomes — in human suffering and in economic losses.” However, just throwing money at the problem will not be enough. As two WHO bodies have recently highlighted, Covid-19 has exposed our current economic model as insufficient, outmoded and negligent. We mistakenly treat health as a short-term cost on squeezed public budgets rather than a long-term investment in expanding public value. We facilitate private investments in health that prioritise short-term profits over human needs; and health funding generally serves immediate demand rather than seeking to improve long-term supply and build public capacities to deal with future crises, not least another global pandemic.

The model is broken — it’s high time we fix it.

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