July 10, 2014 Print

With elections for Britain’s National Health System board looming this next year, there has been a call by public officials for more funding. This “no doubt signals the start of another funding arms race”, says Ryan Bourne of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). He suggests introducing co-payments and competition as an alternative to more taxes and public debt. Bourne and Mark Littlewood of the IEA have taken on the NHS in Britain. Real inflation within the NHS is around 4 percent a year - a terrifying number considering that “if health productivity grows at just one percent per year, the Office for Budget Responsibility calculates that public debt would rise to 211 percent of GDP by 2062-63.” Britain faces substantial healthcare challenges with the rising cost of drugs, treatment and labor, coupled with an increasingly aging population. “We should be seeking to overthrow entirely the notion that all healthcare is ‘free’”, says Bourne, “giving healthcare users ‘skin in the game’”, creating a new system of ‘cost -sharing’. Littlewood addressed the claim for more funding on Westminster Hour, citing the healthcare systems of France, Holland and Singapore as better results that operate on equal or less money. “Rather than continuing to delude ourselves that we are the envy of the world, we have to have the bravery to question the overall NHS structure.”