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Free Health Care For All

Daily PromptIs access to medical care something that governments should provide, or is it better left to the private sector? Are there drawbacks to your choice?

Well, once again I cherry pick a Daily Post prompt and deliver a day late. Maybe that can be my “thing” – late on the daily prompt. I’ve always wanted a “thing”.

But enough of that. A serious question has been posed, a serious answer is demanded.

As far as I’m concerned, the primary function of government is to look after the safety, security and well-being of its citizens. If it’s not offering free/subsidised health care to everyone, universally and without bias, is it really fulfilling this function?

Ambulance

South West England NHS ambulance – free from A to B! (Picture Wiki Commons licence, Graham Richardson)

Here in the UK the government provides free health care for all. I love living in a country where I can have an accident, a heart attack, a knee replacement or whatever and know that the only thing I have to worry about is getting better. No bills, no debt.

The downside? There is one, of course. The NHS (National Health Service) is paid for by taxes and/or National Insurance contributions (I’m not exactly sure what money goes where). That means the NHS has a budget. Some new drugs aren’t available on the NHS because they’re too expensive and they haven’t been proven to add significant quality of life/extend life. Waiting times for non-essential operations (for example hip replacements) can be measured in months. The hospitals in each area are run by “NHS Trusts” – some medications might be available in some areas and not others.

Then we have the private sector. If you have the money, you can join a health insurance scheme. You can have your operations and so on in private hospitals, or private wings in NHS hospitals. If you don’t have private health insurance (most don’t) you can wait for the NHS (free) or pay for the procedure. If you want an expensive medicine, you can pay for it (if you can afford it). If not, you’ll get the cheaper version. If you want your non-essential operation tomorrow instead of in two months time and you have the money, you can pay for it to be done privately.

As ever, if you have the money you have a choice, but for the rest of us at least we’ll get it for free if we’re willing to wait.

So we have both government-provided healthcare and private healthcare. There’s competition in the private sector which helps keep prices in check, and the government healthcare is free. The best of both worlds!

  1. February 9, 2013 at 7:12 am

    It’s O.K to be a day late you can then read all the others. D 34

    Like

    • February 9, 2013 at 8:59 am

      That’s very true! I hadn’t thought of that, ahem 😉
      The truth is I’m just very lazy… I mean busy.

      Like

  2. February 9, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Well, I’m a day late reading it. So there.

    Like

    • February 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Hee hee.
      I wish I were only ever a day late catching up on my post reading!

      Like

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