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UK plans end to free ride for healthcare tourists and migrants

Lord Nelson

In an effort to control costs and protect taxpayers, the UK is cracking down on migrants and healthcare tourists who otherwise use its healthcare system for free, RT reports.  

"The plans indicate that migrants and visitors to the country would have to fund emergency surgery in hospital accident and emergency departments, as well as their own minor surgery which might take place in doctors’ offices," RT writes. 

The UK's universal, taxpayer-funded National Health System provides primary, in-patient, and even long-term healthcare free at the point ofuse. As in the U.S., the use of the system by migrants giving birth in the country is the flash point of national debate. 

According to RT, Britain's ani-migrant feeling has risen, with "go home" messages on billboards and a citizenship test requiring knowledge of its patron saints and famous naval admirals.

Not everyone agrees with the government's position, however. A report cited by the Independent analyzed the real and potential profits to the NHS from medical tourists, estimating that more double the country's healthcare tourists aren't free-loaders but visitors who come for superior care and pay for it.  

While those in need will continue to be served, they will receive a bill for services to their address, determined by their passport or intake information. Details of the implementation are expected in the first quarter of 2014. Read more.

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