(United Nations Development Programme; See Table 1). This means that health care is a luxury that people with more money can buy more of and a better quality of. Choosing to utilize a system of privately funded health care may be a result of the attitude of the United States of being "free," which can be taken to mean free from government control or interference in the free market. While there is public funding available for the elderly and the extremely poor, many people still do not receive the health care they need. This lack of health care for citizens who need it is currently a topic of much debate.
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, funds its citizens' health care publicly, through taxes. According to the 2007-2008 Human Development Report, 7% of GDP in the United Kingdom is spent on public health care while just 1.1% must be spent privately. (United Nations Development Programme; See Table 1). This difference in expenditures in the United Kingdom translates to the view of health care as a fundamental human right rather than a money-based privilege. When health care began to be publicly funded, "the idea was that if Britain could work towards full employment and spend huge sums of money during the wartime effort, then in a time of peace equitable measures of social solidarity and financial resources could be redirected towards fostering public goods." (Wikipedia, 2008). Although publicly funded health care provides more health care to a greater number of people, some people believe that the quality of health care provided is lower. In some cases people choose to seek private health care, if they can afford it, but they are often upset about having to pay for both private health care and the public health care they are opting out of. Many people do not like the feeling that they are paying for the health care of other people who get sick more frequently or are less healthy. Another concern with the United Kingdom's public health care system is that patients are often waitlisted to see doctors for pressing matters; this has led to unnecessary deaths. (Browne, 2001).
Putting the private versus public funding debate aside momentarily, there appears also to be discrepancy in the total amount of combined public and private money spent on health care between the United States and the United Kingdom. Based on the previously discussed statistics, the United States spends 15.4% of GDP on its health care while the United Kingdom spends a considerably lower 8.1% of GDP on health care. In terms of what this means for each individual residing in these countries, while per capita GDP in the United States is $41,890 and $6,096 of that is spent on health care, per capita GDP in the United Kingdom is a slightly lower $36,509 but a significantly lower amount, only $2,560 per capita is spent on health care. (United Nations Development Programme; See Table 1). By having everyone contribute a little bit to the entire society's health care, it appears that health care becomes significantly cheaper for everyone. It is also interesting to note that the United States, with a GDP (in millions) of $12,416.5, as compared to the United Kingdom's $2,198.8, would have a lot of GDP to spend elsewhere if only 8.1% was spent on health care instead of 15.4%.
Because there are many mixed feelings