United Kingdom: Rationing by Cost

Some argue that the goal of medical rationing should be to focus resources where they will offer the greatest health benefit to the greatest number of people.That is the aim of the UK’s rationing plan. But Britain’s plan is now under fire.


If ever there were a place where the public might embrace the rationing of health care, that place
would arguably be Britain

During World War II and for nine years after, the British government rationed most food items: meat, flour, eggs, sugar. The government also strictly controlled the supply of gasoline, soap, stockings—even the number of buttons on jackets.

Although there was wartime rationing elsewhere, including in the United States, it generally applied
to fewer items over fewer years and was quickly forgotten. In Britain, however, rationing became a
part of the national identity.