Health Insurance with Medical Care: The British Experience

Health Insurance with Medical Care: The British Experience

Health Insurance with Medical Care: The British Experience

Health Insurance with Medical Care: The British Experience

Excerpt

When in 1911 I laid before the British Parliament my proposals for a scheme of National Health Insurance, they encountered a stern and growing volume of bitter opposition which surprised me by its intensity. Concessions and modifications, some of them unfortunate, had to be made to placate this interest and that, and even then it was a matter of the utmost difficulty to pilot the measure successfully to the Statute Book. Probably it would be true to say that a referendum of the whole country, taken at that time, would have shown only a minority of the people in favour of the new system.

In the quarter of a century which has elapsed since it became law, this once-abused scheme has become one of the most popular elements in our administrative system. The nation would as soon think of abandoning it as it would of abolishing the Post Office. The medical profession, which at the outset viewed it with unconcealed distaste, now finds it a highly satisfactory source of an income considerably in excess of that which they formerly secured from the section of the public which it covers. The insured classes enjoy by means of it a degree of medical attention previously unknown, as well as a measure of financial security in sickness to which they were once strangers. It has become the keystone of our social structure for the maintenance and improvement of the nation's health, and round it have clustered a host of ancillary schemes for extending and supplementing the services it renders.

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