Although Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has come under fire in that country for its failings, emerging economies are finding much to emulate in the NHS as they look to improve their own. The main reason is that the system provides a wide range of services to the entire population, regardless of people’s ability to pay — and because health care is not tied to employment.
At a July health conference held in South Africa in July, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Dean Julio Frenk praised the NHS for breaking the link between earnings and health entitlements. For countries with large populations without regular paid employment, such a system makes sense, he said. Quoted in the Aug. 3 issue of the Economist, he said, “If you have to wait until they all get regular jobs, you’ll wait too long.”