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[Perspectives] Health, welfare, and the state—the dangers of forgetting history

Recent public policy in the UK has been dominated by a discourse which asserts that public expenditure on universal health coverage and welfare is a burden on the productive economy and unaffordable in what has been deemed a time of austerity. There is a widely held assumption that universal welfare provision, as offered by most modern welfare states, is a luxury, only afforded since World War 2 by wealthier economies. According to this view, if the productive efficiency of the economy falters, then this luxury should be trimmed back aggressively.

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