Why The NHS Is So Cheap
I KNOW, we don’t think of it as cheap when we look at the £100 billion a year and rising in taxes that we have to pay to fund it. But by international standards the NHS really is quite cheap: 9 or 10% of GDP (GDP is all the money we have each year) as opposed to 11 or 12% in France and 18 % in the US.
Some will argue, some do argue, that this is all down to the fact that we’ve got this planned by lovely politicians and thus there are no greedy hucksters making profits from it. Could even be true but that’s not the only possible reason. One that we know very well is true is that those politicians doing the planning simply deny certain medical treatments to certain people:
Thousands of elderly people are dying unnecessarily early because ‘despicable’ age discrimination in the NHS is denying them treatment for cancer, a charity has warned.
Basically the NHS says that if you’re over 75 or so and you’ve got cancer (and there are thoughts that this extends to strokes as well) then, well, you’re only waiting around to see what’s going to kill you anyway so here’s some painkillers now go and die.
It’s not quite as stark as that but that is the underlying decision making process that is being complained about here.
We also know that 50% of the costs of US medical care are in the last 6 months of life: naturally you might think, as towards the end of our lives is when we’re ill with the things that will kill us. But the US aggressively treats things, attempts to cure things, that the NHS just shrugs its shoulders over.
And that’s one reason why US health care is so much more expensive than the NHS: or why the NHS is cheap. Because we stop trying to cure the old earlier than the US does.
Whether it should be this way or not is something to think about: but that it is this way is not in doubt.