NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 26, 2008

Government-run health care in Great Britain has imposed huge costs on patients and businesses by denying treatments and medications, despite the fact that the National Health System (NHS) ran a $4.67 billion surplus in 2007, says Krystle Russin of the Heartland Institute.

According to the National Center for Policy Analysis:

  • Great Britain lost a total of $208 billion in the overall economy to illness and treatment.
  • This figure includes $127 billion in potential earnings based on productivity, $81 billion in paid mental health leave and $50 billion in direct costs to friends and family members tasked with caring for the ill.

NHS's negative effect on the British economy, especially while the program itself is running a large financial surplus, is causing tension within the government and among British citizens, says Russin.  For example:

  • An April Gallup poll showed only 7 percent of British citizens were very satisfied with their health care system.
  • Twenty-five percent of those polled said they were extremely dissatisfied with their care.
  • Another 27 percent were somewhat dissatisfied.

Analysts credit the more incentive-based American system for the lower overall cost and higher productivity found in U.S. health care, particularly in comparison to the government-centered British health care apparatus, says Russin. 

Source: Krystle Russin, "Britain's Health Care System Costs Patients and Businesses Billions," Heartland Institute, July 1, 2008.


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