Health Care in Britain and America

June 13, 1973

Report Outline
Dissatifaction of High Cost and Inadequate Coverage
British Health Service After 25 Years
Pertinence of British System to U.S.A.
Special Focus

Dissatifaction of High Cost and Inadequate Coverage

Criticism of High Cost and Inadequate Coverage

Health care in the United States has been variously described as “a scandal,” on the “verge of a breakdown” or, in the words of President Nixon, facing a “massive crisis.” The dimensions of the problem have been thoroughly documented: costs have run out of control, medical attention has become inaccessible to millions of Americans, preventive care is minimal and dozens of different medical programs lack coordination and are beset by waste and duplication. There is general agreement by all parties that change is not only desired but anticipated. Now, as the Nixon administration prepares to offer its proposals for medical care reform to the nation, and numerous other comprehensive reform measures are pending before Congress, it is instructive to look at Britain's 25 years of experience with government-sponsored health care.

British observers tend to regard the United States as poor in health considering the amount of money the nation spends on health care. These expenditures account for about 8 per cent of the U.S. gross national product, in contrast to less than 6 per cent in Britain. And it can be argued that in a number of ways the British enjoy better health and health services than their American cousins. Health-care spending in the United States exceeded $80 billion in 1972 and may reach $90 billion in 1973.

Walter J. McNerney, president of the Blue Cross Association, contends that the health field “is particularly vulnerable to the forces of inflation—as are all service industries.” A complicating factor is that “the basic supply and demand forces of the classic market are weak, or apply unevenly. Thus, quality, efficiency and effectiveness do not materialize in the ordinary course of events between purchasers and providers of the service. They must be built in.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Health Insurance
Oct. 23, 2020  The U.S. Health Insurance System
Oct. 18, 2019  Health Care Debates
Sep. 21, 2012  Assessing the New Health Care Law
Jun. 11, 2010  Health-Care Reform Updated
Aug. 28, 2009  Health-Care Reform
Mar. 30, 2007  Universal Coverage
Jun. 14, 2002  Covering the Uninsured
Apr. 16, 1999  Managing Managed Care
Apr. 12, 1996  Managed Care
Mar. 17, 1995  Primary Care
Nov. 23, 1990  Setting Limits on Medical Care
Oct. 14, 1988  The Failure to Contain Medical Costs
Aug. 10, 1984  Health Care: Pressure for Change
Apr. 08, 1983  Rising Cost of Health Care
Jan. 28, 1977  Controlling Health Costs
Aug. 09, 1974  Health Maintenance Organizations
Jun. 13, 1973  Health Care in Britain and America
Jan. 18, 1970  Future of Health Insurance
Jun. 20, 1962  Health Care Plans and Medical Practice
May 28, 1958  Health Insurance Costs
Feb. 17, 1954  Government Aid for Health Plans
Nov. 22, 1949  Compensation for Disability
Aug. 30, 1946  Public Medical Care
Jan. 25, 1944  Medical Insurance
Sep. 16, 1938  Health Insurance in Foreign Countries
Mar. 06, 1937  Toward Health Insurance
Jul. 09, 1934  Sickness Insurance and Group Hospitalization
Health Insurance and Managed Care
Medicaid and Medicare
Medicaid and Medicare