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U.S. could look to Taiwan for successful universal health care program

Dreaming of a state-run single-payer healthcare system? Want universal healthcare for all Americans? Supporters say Medicare for all is the answer.

As the annual World Health Assembly begins in May, it's heartening to see the article “'Health Care for All,' the path forward,” (Apr. 25). I would like to share Taiwan's success story for a quality health care model similar to what Dr. James F. Burdick advocates.

This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Taiwan's implementation of universal health coverage, National Health Insurance. It ranked ninth in the 2018 Health Care Efficiency Index of Bloomberg Finance.

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The success of Taiwan’s health program can be attributed to several factors, including a single-payer model with contributions from individuals, employers, and the government. It also includes a budget payment system, preventive health care services and premium subsidies provided to disadvantaged groups.

Taiwan has been actively seeking to share its first-rate experience in health care reform. However, in the past two years, the World Health Organization has denied Taiwanese delegates' access to the assembly due to political reasons.

We urge WHO to respond favorably to the widespread calls for Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Assembly and related technical meetings, mechanisms and activities. Taiwan is a reliable partner that can help countries around the world achieve the goal of universal health coverage.

Ta-Kuay Lee, Washington

The writer is director of the press division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.

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