Sir, John Murray ( Letters, November 28) attributes reluctance to pay taxes for improved healthcare to the fear that the money may fall into the general taxation black hole. The way round this is to separate such payments from income tax as such. In most European countries health financing goes into a “social insurance fund” and not into the income tax pot. Thus the overall cost is visible and it is reasonably clear what one is paying for. The contributors (all households) are customers in much the same way as those who in the UK pay for private health insurance.
True, depending on the country, not all treatment is entirely free at the point of delivery, but this is quite clear in the initial agreement between “customer” and the relevant social insurance company. Furthermore, there are a variety of regulatory safeguards for those on low incomes or the unemployed. Additional significant advantages are that all existing conditions are accepted, the premiums are very reasonable — particularly, of course, compared with premiums for private health insurance in the UK — older people are not priced out of the market, and the health outcomes are in most cases better. Finally, as a customer, the healthcare recipient is more in control of events and has much more choice. This greatly reduces the stress factor in obtaining timely appointments or treatment.
London W5, UK
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