A think tank has called for the NHS to switch to a form of health insurance that would bring it in line with other countries.
Two factors were crucial in the "battle for health supremacy" - namely that the health system provides universal coverage and that it has strong insurance incentives - according to a report from Reform.
The report said Switzerland and Japan performed the best on both of these fronts, followed by France, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. However, both the UK and the US lag behind.
Reform advised the NHS to introduce more insurance incentives into the system, such as giving patients a choice of organisations that offer insurance for healthcare, and to provide clarity over healthcare entitlement - such as the treatments and drugs available in return for a set financial contribution.
The report also suggests a new model - a National Health Protection System - where people are able to invest a £2,000-per-year, tax-funded premium to guarantee their healthcare. This is the amount the government currently spends per head per year on the NHS, it said.
Andrew Haldenby, director of Reform, said: "The Prime Minister has said that the NHS is the best insurance system in the world - it isn't yet by any means, but that is the right ambition."
What do you think of a health system based on health insurance? Should the NHS consider this option?Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"A vision of what the future of the NHS could be with a Conservative government. More insurance = more money leaving the NHS. After all the financial industry needs to find more money/profit from somewhere to supplement its current and recent disasters." - Jack, Scotland