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