NHS opt-out tax rebate proposed

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Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

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People in England should be able to receive a tax rebate for opting out of NHS care under a system with significantly increased competition, a think-tank has recommended.

Under the plan people would receive a rebate equivalent to the value of the NHS care they would have received.

A report produced by the Institute of Economic Affairs indicated that a single adult under 45 could expect a tax rebate of around £700 for opting out from the NHS, while a pensioner couple, one of whom is over 75, could receive £4,300 back.

The report recommended completing the “stalled” reforms introduced by Labour in the 2000s, by encouraging more foundation hospitals, expanding patient choice and an increased use of payment by results.

Under the plan to increase competition, patients should be able to choose primary care providers from across the country, rather than on the basis of where they live.

Within a health market “bankruptcies should become a normal occurrence” and “mergers and takeovers would become the norm”, the report said.

Private providers could take over a failing NHS facility or struggling private firms could be taken over by a thriving NHS foundation trust.

Setting out the ability for people to opt out of the NHS, the report said: ” Those opting out would receive a tax rebate, but the rebate would only be equivalent to what it would otherwise have cost to treat them on the NHS.

“To the extent that these people no longer use NHS services, they would be refunded with the corresponding cost savings, but nothing more. Thus, net contributors would still remain net contributors.”

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “Although the reforms of the last government opened up the UK health service to much-needed competition, comparative studies show how much more must be done to catch up with our neighbours.

“Allowing complete freedom of choice and empowering people to choose private commissioners and providers will promote competition across the health sector.

“This will see hospitals, as well as GP surgeries and commissioning groups, competing to look after the healthcare of all Britons, as their livelihood will depend on it.”

Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

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