healthcare Healthcare is a very broad category that begins with self-preservation, including safety, diet, and—to a far lesser extent—exercise. If ill health occurs, then remedies can sometimes be found at a local health food shop or a pharmacy. More serious conditions might require the assistance of health specialists of one kind or another. The primary issue here, is whether the various natural or pharmaceutical *drugs and health specialists ought to be regulated and subsidized by the *state. The *libertarian position is that the *competitive *efficiency of the *market and *charity is the more efficient option.

In particular, in the UK, this should replace the inefficient *state monolith that is the National Health Service (NHS): the UK’s *tax-funded state healthcare provider (with around 1.6 million employees in 2011). It is a popular myth that the NHS was ever the ‘envy of the world’—or why did every other state not try to copy it? The World Health Organization’s evaluation of healthcare systems in 2000 placed France first and the UK eighteenth. It is another popular myth that in the USA, although very far from *depoliticized in its healthcare, the sick and injured are turned away to die if they have no insurance; in fact, US hospitals never turn away emergency cases (albeit that *legislation obliges this).

Like *education, healthcare in the UK (as with the US) was growing in all its forms before state intervention. There were mutual aid societies, various kinds of insurance, and a significant charitable sector. There is no reason to think that the politicization of healthcare has improved it or extended healthcare to those who would otherwise have gone without. Quite the reverse. Apart from the notoriously wasteful *bureaucracy of the NHS, part of the problem is the ‘free’ *universal provision. Even compulsory insurance, where possible, might be an improvement on tax-funding. There are also the problems of damaging *professionalization and excessive *qualifications. In partial acknowledgement of these problems in recent years, there have been some token gestures in the direction of depoliticization. Complete depoliticization has not yet been accepted by a majority of the *intellectuals, which ultimately determines the policy direction of the UK’s elected oligarchy (see *democracy).

A Dictionary of Libertarianism