Health and Wealth! Isn’t that what everyone drinks to?
A look at UK Health Insurance and National Wealth.
Britain was still reeling from World War Two when the National Health Service was launched in 1948, sweeping in an era of social change and expectation.
Gone were the days of ‘bring out your dead’ if you couldn’t afford to pay.
Despite many changes over the sixty one years and its recent flirtations with Private Health Insurance companies, the so called postcode lottery system and other structural difficulties, the NHS has remained true to the ethos of access for all.
No system is perfect and spatial differences in levels of access and quality of care still need to be radically addressed.
In the UK when the National Health Service was finally implemented in 1948 as part of Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s ‘cradle to the grave’ welfare state.
A nationwide system of free healthcare was finally launched by Aneurin Bevan the then Minister of Health, which promised us access to health care cover and treatment for all.
The cradle to the grave speech mentality had set the standards for social healthcare and access to treatment for all.
To date, despite its recent structural changes, and despite the healthy criticism and debate that the subject of the NHS always brings, if you look at the system in performance and social cohesion you have to say that it appears to work much better as a form of national health insurance than do comparative systems in so called developed countries. This development in healthcare is always a subject of great debate in the lead up to a General Election, and no doubt will take greater stage in the months to come
Everyone working in the UK has to pay National Insurance contributions as part of their income in order for the system to work, and facilitating everyone in the UK with medical cover.
However National Insurance contributions are not a good solution for a number of reasons.
They increase the costs of labour.
By definition this makes them inflationary.
The costs of production are passed onto the populace en masse
The contributions are by no means equitable
Many sections of the population are able to virtually opt out of the contribution system
The NHS is heavily subsided by the tax contributions of the healthy and wealthy forty percent plus payers.
Whether the United States Government is able to take what could be seen as a major left shift to achieve better social cohesion and consequently improved GDP, remains to be seen.
Are the workers prepared to subsidize the shirkers and the misfortunate? There needs to exist a situation both economically, socially and mentality, of desperation and hope that existed in the UK in 1945, in order to see a fiscal response to the current situation, biting the healthcare bullet that the USA is so afraid to bite. Providing the ultimate National Safety Net!
The States is in the difficult situation of how to deal with chronic sickness, the recession, the role of PMI as an underwriter of GDP and the political influence and lobbying power of the large Health Insurance companies. Rather you than me Barrack!
Gordon Brown should note that Private Health Insurance became one of the first things people were encouraged to buy when her who’s name shall not be spoken came to power in 1979.