Private Spending on Healthcare

Published Wed 25 Jun 2008
The debate about healthcare finance in the UK continues after 60 years of the NHS. Both critics and supporters of the NHS question whether the UK can continue to provide tax-funded healthcare free at the point of need, as private incomes increase and as demands and the costs of healthcare continue to place ever greater pressures on the health budget.

The debate about healthcare finance in the UK continues after 60 years of the NHS. Both critics and supporters of the NHS question whether the UK can continue to provide tax-funded healthcare free at the point of need, as private incomes increase and as demands and the costs of healthcare continue to place ever greater pressures on the health budget.

This report addresses two key policy problems:

  • The macro level problem is the future financing of healthcare in the UK. We examine how much and how future healthcare will need to be funded. In particular, we are interested in the role that private health spending is likely to play in meeting future healthcare spending demands.
  • The second problem is how the current contribution of private spending in the health economy could be improved. Private spending in its many forms has always co-existed with the NHS, but has received less attention from policymakers as an integral part of the health system.
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