Healthcare in England
By Ted Beust | Our Voice Contributor
If you don’t live under a rock, healthcare in America is really, really expensive. Because of this, voices have only gotten louder for actual healthcare reform, instead of just relying on private insurance companies.
Outside the U.S., healthcare can be described as this: you get sick and you get help. But in the United States it’s this: you get sick, fight with the health insurance company, and get help. That’s because outside of America, countries in Europe don’t have to fight health insurance companies because their health insurance is paid for through taxation.
England’s tax-based healthcare system is called the National Health Service, or more commonly known as the NHS. The NHS prides itself on their services being “free at the point of delivery,” which means that almost everything is covered. Even ambulance care is free!
The only things that aren’t covered under the NHS are dentistry, optometry, and prescription drugs. The average co-pay for prescription drugs is £8. But prescription drugs can be free if someone qualifies for a medical exemption certificate, which guarantees it.
To use the NHS you need to register with a General Practitioner, or GP for short. All someone has to do is fill out where they live online and it finds all the nearest GPs. When they find a GP., all one needs to do is fill out one form, turn it in, and within 1-2 days a citizen of England is guaranteed health insurance for as long as they live. This is in stark contrast to the United States, where the paperwork can be comparable to the amount of pages in a Harry Potter book.
But the most impressive part is the NHS’s cost effectiveness. According to an article from USA Today, England spends 7.8% of its Gross Domestic Product, more well known as the GDP, on public health and the average amount of money spent per capita is £2,608 ($3,341 USD.) That same USA Today article shows the United States spends 14% of its GDP on public health and spends $8,047 per capita on health.
Americans need to be asked this question: would they rather have a) higher taxes and not have to worry about medical bills, or b) have lower taxes and pay medical bills?