International perspective

Health polices of international agencies and individual countries reflect choices involving diverse ethical issues, including rights and responsibilities of individuals versus society, choices over who benefits and who pays for healthcare services, trade-offs between saving identifiable lives and statistical lives, and choices involving interpersonal and intergenerational equity. This entry begins by examining the role of international agencies in providing public health services, ethical issues raised by testing and use of new drugs, and government involvement in purchasing and providing healthcare. It then outlines four generic models for healthcare financing and delivery that many countries have adapted to their unique circumstances. These four healthcare financing and delivery models reflect different choices about an individual's right to basic healthcare services, and views about whether an individual's ability to pay should influence access to certain services.

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