2014 Press Releases

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ATS Supports Global Universal Health Coverage Day on Dec. 12

Dec. 12, 2014 -- The ATS has joined the World Health Organization, the United States Agency for International Development, and more than 100 non-governmental organizations in supporting the first global Universal Health Coverage Day on Dec. 12 to advocate for expanded health coverage for all people, including the poorest and most vulnerable. This includes essential health services, prevention, treatment, hospital care, and pain control. Dec. 12 marks the two-year anniversary of a unanimous United Nations resolution endorsing universal health coverage.

Some of the event’s main messages are:

  • Universal Health Coverage means that every person, everywhere, has access to health care without suffering financial hardship.
  • Health is a human right and a cornerstone of sustainable development and global security. How health care is financed and delivered must change—to be more equitable and more effective.
  • Universal health coverage is attainable.
  • Universal health coverage can help stop the world’s deadliest diseases, including infectious diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Health is a right, not a privilege.

“National leaders have increasingly recognized that health care costs jeopardize the financial health of their countries,” said ATS President Thomas Ferkol, MD, the Alexis Hartmann Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology, and Director of the multidisciplinary Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonary Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine. “The development of countries depends on the health of its citizens, and the costs needed to care for the ill and dying limits national productivity.  Worldwide, nations are working toward providing universal health coverage, which will drive economic growth and lift people out of poverty.  Most important, universal coverage will improve the health of millions and save lives.”

The core tenets of universal health coverage include:

  • Prioritize the Poorest
  • Increase Reliance on Public Funding
  • Reduce, if Not Eliminate, Out-Of-Pocket Spending
  • Develop the Health System

The American Thoracic Society, whose 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy, support these important goals which will improve the health of people around the world.