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This panel seeks to explore, ethnographically, tensions and friction concerning solidarity, responsibility and care which surround recent experiments with and expansion of health insurance in many countries across the world.
The "Universal Health Coverage" agenda is redefining global health, as it foregrounds a language of universality, the right to health care and demands for equity, solidarity, and social justice. Under the umbrella of financial protection and increasing access to quality health care, attempts to expand health insurance have become a cornerstone of UHC policies. In much of the Global South, existing national health insurance schemes are parastatal and have historically been limited to people in formal employment. Attempts to extend insurance coverage means including people in the informal economy whose incomes are precarious. As digital, mobile and financial technologies crowd into this field, insurance is emerging as a field of experimentation, often combining a language of solidarity and a language of market innovation. This panel seeks to explore, ethnographically, these experiments with forms of solidarity: How are they positioned between the state and the market? How do they interact with existing socioeconomic landscape and inequalities (such as class), with informal solidarity networks, including kinship, neighborhood and religious groups, as well as formal social protection schemes? Which economic subjectivities, and forms of responsibility for health and care are being pursued or fostered in this process? Which possibilities do they foster, and which vulnerabilities do they exploit?