Right-Wing Think Tank: Stupid, Drunk Brits Should Foot Their Own Medical Bills

Way to rub it in, Britain...

While we Americans gnaw at our bald fingers, awaiting even the slightest shudder in our health policy’s status quo, farces abound across the pond. Via Reuters:

Excessive drinking over New Year's Eve could cost Britain's National Health Service as much as 23 million pounds, according to a report on Thursday which recommends drunks be charged a hospital admission fee of 532 pounds ($845.90).

"Alcohol misuse in Britain is at a level where it constitutes a public health epidemic," said the report by the right-leaning Policy Exchange think-tank.

Wow. Bad enough that Britain whooped our ass in the last round of World Health Organization health care rankings (They came in 18th; we were 37th -- right below Costa Rica and one above Slovenia. High five!). Bad enough that even their most powerful conservatives won’t even think about denouncing universal health care (In 2006, David Cameron promised that the Tories would keep the National Health Service "free at the point of need and available to everyone"). Now there’s this: a reminder that in some civilized countries, paying for health care is only mandatory when it’s punishment. Punishment for being a drunken fool, no less.

The Policy Exchange is hedging its bets a little, too. Even though the British Department of Health has confirmed that more than 2.7 billion pounds are dedicated to "healthcare costs relating to alcohol misuse" each year, the think tank’s report still urges hospitals to reduce the cost of care if perps agree to undergo an alcohol awareness and education course.

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