Willingness to pay

NHS Funding

Following the Budget we now see the effect of this austerity ridden economy on the future prospects of the UK economy, revised down to:

  • 1.5% – 2017
  • 1.4% – 2018
  • 1.3% – 2019
  • 1.3% – 2020
  • 1.5% – 2021
  • 1.6% – 2022

In March the forecasts were 1.6% in 2018, 1.7% in 2019, 1.9% in 2020 and 2.1% in 2021. These are major reductions in forecasts made in March this year.  What is the government hiding about the reasons for this sudden about turn in economic expectations? `

In considering issues of Health the basic question is willingness to pay. Related to it is what is the appropriate size of the state now running at 43%. 

I here quote from Polly Toynbee and David Walker’s excellent new book “Dismembered”.

“The NHS needs real-terms funding increases of 3.5 per cent a year to 2030 as a bare minimum.  To cope with changing demography health services will require a greater proportion of GDP to be spent on them, rising from 7.4 per cent to 8.8 per cent.  Is that such a big ask ?   The Nuffield Trust’s John Appleby says that such a rise would not put under undue pressure on general taxation and would still be less than many equivalent countries.  The Office for Budget Responsibility reckons most other things being equal, health spending in an ageing country will have to rise by 8 per cent of GDP over the four decades from 2020 or £156bn in today’s money.  A lot or a marginal addition (nearly £4bn a year) ?    That level of extra health spending comes from both the ageing population and technological advances and would apply regardless of the division between public and private sectors.

So let’s have an end to the interminable attempts from the right to push for health insurance or cash payments in place of our NHS: that’s fools gold, a recipe for hugely greater inequality in care, a ticket to bureaucracy  and waste, and, as the chaotic American system shows, a way of spending far more money for far less value”