So despite attempts by UK conservative politicians to insist their National Health System needed market "efficiencies," it turns out it's one of the best and most cost-effective in the developed world.
If any politicians really cared about things like deficits, they'd be screaming to reopen negotiations on the health care bill and implement a nationalized health care plan like Medicare for all. But they don't care, and they won't even consider the cheapest, most efficient system:
The NHS is one of the most cost-effective health systems in the developed world, according to a study (pdf) published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
The "surprising" findings show the NHS saving more lives for each pound spent as a proportion of national wealth than any other country apart from Ireland over 25 years. Among the 17 countries considered, the United States healthcare system was among the least efficient and effective.
Researchers said that this contradicted assertions by the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, that the NHS needed competition and choice to become more efficient.
"The government proposals to change the NHS are largely based on the idea that the NHS is less efficient and effective than other countries, especially the US," said Professor Colin Pritchard, of Bournemouth University, who analysed a quarter of a century's data from 1980.
"The results question why we need a big set of health reform proposals ... The system works well. Look at the US and you can see where choice and competition gets you. Pretty dismal results."
The study will be a blow for Lansley, who argues that patients should choose between competing hospital services and GPs.
Pritchard's last academic paper, which argued that surgeons were being distracted from frontline work by "unfunded" targets in the NHS, was used by Lansley to justify government reforms.
Using the latest data from the World Health Organisation, the paper shows that although Labour's tax-and-spend strategy for the NHS saw health spending rise to a record 9.3% of GDP, this was less than Germany with 10.7% or the US with 15%.
Not only was the UK cheaper, says the paper, it saved more lives. The NHS reduced the number of adult deaths a million of the population by 3,951 a year – far better than the nearest comparable European countries. France managed 2,779 lives a year and Germany 2,395.
This means, the paper says, that dramatic NHS improvements have led to a situation where that there are now 162,000 fewer deaths every year compared with 1980.