A think tank funded by private health firms says people should be forced to pay a £10-a-month “membership charge” to use the NHS. The report from think tank Reform also says prescription fees should be higher and that people staying in hospital overnight should pay “hotel charges”.
The proposals have provoked outrage—but not among Reform’s backers. These include General Healthcare Group, the largest of Britain’s private hospital firms which would stand to gain most.
Reform has also been funded by health insurance giants including Prudential, Legal & General, Scottish Widows, Aviva, Benenden insurance and firm UnitedHealth. UnitedHealth has faced accusations of overcharging and malpractice.
Trade body the Association of British Insurers is also a donor.
Insurance companies have long worked to influence the debate over healthcare. These proposals are part of a drive to undermine the NHS so that private firms can make even more profit out of sick people.