Independent Research and Policy Advocacy

Is contributory health insurance indeed an addiction to a bad idea? A comment on its relevance for low- and middle-income countries

Financing of health systems is an enduring concern world wide. Yazbeck and colleagues in their paper make an important point that when there is a choice between financing in which contributions from citizens take place in the form of generalised taxes versus those in which they are in the form of insurance premiums, the overwhelming evidence suggests that tax-based financing is unambiguously superior even in low- and middle-income countries. Despite the strength of their case against contributory insurance, we suggest that the path forward may be more complex than they envisage for a number of reasons.