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USA struggles and middle income countries could do more in tackling health inequality according to Oxfam report

Published on 12/10/18 at 10:11am
Image Credit: Thehero

A cluster of Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, Uruguay and Argentina, and a cluster of OECD countries with long-term commitments to public investment and well established welfare states such as Germany, Denmark and Finland, are doing the most to reduce health inequality, according to Oxfam’s Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2018.

The report also highlights low-income countries such Ethiopia for their re-distributive efforts and pro-poor spending which has been described as “devoting significantly more” to tackling inequality “than developed countries did at a similar stage in their history.”

In contrast the Oxfam report points out that some middle-income countries are spending significantly less in the fight against inequality than developed countries did at a similar point in their economic development. The report notes that while Indonesia, which is richer today than the United States was in 1935, has increased health spending in recent years, much more needs to be done.

Meanwhile the United States is highlighted as a country that has failed to tackle health inequality despite devoting significant sums towards healthcare. The report suggests that: “This is largely due to the USA’s complex privatized system and the high cost of healthcare.”

Overall Kazakhstan, Columbia, Lithuania, Georgia and Lebanon have increased healthcare spending the most while Samoa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Barbados and Australia have experienced the biggest cuts to healthcare.

Louis Goss

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