The Corner

Health Care

British Doctors Say Charging Foreigners for Care Is ‘Racist’

(Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters)

Delegates to the British Medical Association annual conference have voted to give everyone who attends an NHS facility free healthcare — whether the patient is a U.K. citizen or not. From the Times of London story:

Doctors have voted overwhelmingly to stop charging foreign patients for NHS care, claiming that doing so is “fundamentally racist”.

Up to 500 delegates at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Belfast backed a motion that said that asking overseas visitors to pay made medical staff “complicit” in racism.

“We are doctors not border guards,” Omar Risk said during the debate. “Charging migrants for accessing NHS services is a fundamentally racist endeavour — we are complicit in the oppressive regime.”

Now the BMA plans to lobby the government to stop charging foreigners. Good grief.

The U.K. has a very expensive problem with medical tourism, in which people come to the country for care, and then stiff the NHS when billed. Such scofflaws cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds a year — a lot considering the sad state of the NHS’s finances.

Are we no longer expected to be responsible for ourselves? If I am in the U.K. and fall ill or I’m injured, why should I receive free care from the NHS?

It isn’t as if I don’t have options. When I travel, I always buy travel health insurance in case I need care while overseas. It isn’t expensive and it’s the responsible approach — both to ensure that I am not financially ruined by a big medical bill and to assure that those who care for me in my time of need receive proper remuneration. In any event, people should pay for services rendered to the best of their ability.

Still, I guess we shouldn’t look down our noses too steeply. The two major Medicare for All plans cover illegal aliens. The Democrat candidates for president in the second Democratic debate all raised their hands when asked if they support covering illegal aliens under government-provided — e.g. taxpayer paid — insurance. California will soon pass a law to provide illegal aliens Medicaid coverage in the formerly Golden State to age 26, and Mayor DeBlasio of New York declared that everyone in the city is to be covered for free care whether legally in the country or not.

Costs-schmosts! As with the BMA delegates, if you disagree with covering anyone who can get across the border, free health-care activists brand you a nativist, racist, bigot, or whatever pejorative the activist thinks will shut down reasoned debate.

Meanwhile, bioethicists write in professional journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA that we must be mature and ration health care like the Brits do — our health-care system is going broke, don’t you know — while some euthanasia advocates look to assisted suicide as a potent money saver.

Maybe, there’s something in the water. Or, perhaps it is the triumphant return of, From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” — only without the from part being enforced.


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