This report by the SMF's Health Commission, argues that the analysis of the role private payments could play in UK health care has often been hindered by over-simplistic ideological views.
The Commission argues that private health expenditure is a significant and growing part of overall health spending in the UK. It represents partial exit from a monopolistic state provider, provides additional capacity and choice in the health system, has provided examples of excellence in provision, and has helped pave the way for health care that is more responsive to individual patients. The Commission also argues that the economic arguments for encouraging employers to pay more towards health care are more compelling than those for individual tax relief.
The Commission does not at this stage advocate any policy change. It does, however, believe that private payments ought to be recognised as an important adjunct to the status quo regarding NHS financing.