The Economic Attributes of Medical Care: Implications for Rationing Choices in the United States and United Kingdom

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 5 (4):546 (1996)
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The healthcare systems of the United States and United Kingdom are vastly different. The former relies primarily on private sector incentives and market forces to allocate medical care services, while the latter is a centrally planned system funded almost entirely by the public sector. Therefore, each nation represents divergent views on the relative efficacy of the market or government in achieving social objectives in the area of medical care policy. Since its inception in 1948, the National Health Services of the United Kingdom has consistently emphasized equity in the allocation of medical services. It has done so by creating a system whereby services are universally free of charge at the point of entry. Conversely, the United States has relied upon the evolution of a perplexing array of public and private sector insurance schemes centered more around consumer choice than equity in allocation



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