UK health insurance premiums hit record highs as the NHS suffers ‘life-threatening’ cuts
- by admin
A record-breaking rise in the cost of UK health care is driving up the prices of health insurance and forcing the government to call for a major overhaul of its own.
Health Minister Norman Lamb said on Tuesday the cost for an individual health insurance policy had risen by a fifth in just four months, hitting an all-time high of £4,000.
He said the figures showed the cost to the taxpayer of the NHS had reached a “life-changing” level.
“It is time for us to change the way we provide health care, and make the NHS a world-class health service,” Mr Lamb said.
In total, the cost has risen by £4.2bn ($7.7bn) since January.
Mr Lamb said the figure was “life changing”, adding: “We must not forget that if we don’t do anything, then we will be paying the price for the failure of our politicians to act.”
It would be very irresponsible not to act.
“The NHS said the rise was due to a “very large number of policy decisions” in recent months, including changes to the way the health service provides coverage for people with mental health and substance abuse problems.
It said it had spent £1.7 billion on the changes.
The Department of Health said the new figures showed that the NHS could not cope with the cost, and would need to make more cuts.
NHS minister says the NHS can’t cope with rising health care costs.
What are the issues?
The increase in the prices is due to the rise in demand for health care coverage, which is already higher than ever.
A large number have been drawn to the NHS as a result of Brexit and are now unable to afford the cost.
While the government has pledged to spend £1 trillion on the NHS by 2020, it has so far only promised to spend the equivalent of $1.1 trillion in 2020-21.
But the increase in prices has led to concerns that the government is “trying to avoid the impact of the economic downturn”, according to Professor John McManus of the University of Sussex.
Dr McManu said: “There’s a perception in some quarters that the [government] has deliberately taken money from the NHS and that it is going to spend it now to avoid further pressure on the economy, rather than spend it later to protect the NHS.”
What we have got is a situation where the NHS is now facing a huge financial challenge, and that has a real effect on what is happening to the finances of the government,” he said.
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