Free Markets, Free People

Government health care’s inevitable fate

Canada’s health care system is in deep trouble financially. So it should come as no surprise that the British NHS is as well. It is simply in the process of proving correct Margaret Thatcher, who said, “the trouble with socialism you eventually run out of other people’s money”.

The Brits ran out of “other people’s money” quite some time ago (as is the US as debt and deficit figues show) and their social structures are existing on debt. And the NHS, the celebrated “single-payer” government run system in place since right after WW II, is failing:

Jeff Taylor of the Economic Voice clarified the problem when he wrote last week that “the U.K. is broke.”

“Our whole society and way of life is now built on the shaky foundation of debt,” he writes in response to the NHS cuts. “Our hospitals, schools, armed forces, police, prisons and social services are founded on debt. In truth we have not yet paid for the operations that have already taken place.”

The NHS is planning on extensive rationing of surgery. The service is looking at eliminating literally millions – with an “m” – of surgical procedures because it simply cannot afford them. Representative of those procedures which will no longer be available are hip replacements for obese patients, some operations for hernias and gallstones, and treatments for varicose veins, ear and nose problems, and cataract surgery.

The intent is to “save” 29 billion by telling patients in need of those procedures “no”.

Rationing, pure and simple – as promised. However, it is government deciding what you can or can’t have, regardless of your preference or need. This is indeed the ultimate outcome of handing things such as health care over to any third party. And it is especially a problem when “cost containment” takes precedence over health care.

That is precisely the mandate government here has assumed with its legislative charter to “cut costs” in the health care business. With that as a priority, and given the structure of the new law, an almost impossible priority to fulfill, the same outcome is almost guaranteed here. With cost containment driving the train, shortages are inevitable. And what those shortages mean, in concrete terms, is precisely what the NHS is planning on doing – denying patients health care.

The inevitable shape of things to come.



36 Responses to Government health care’s inevitable fate

  • I object to the term “rationing”.  Rather, the government – doubtless through the agency of a special panel of experts – will provide guidelines to assist doctors and their patients in making sound healthcare decisions, including end-of-life decisions.  See?  Totally NOT rationing.  And think of the new benefit of more government experts helping people learn to cope with disabilities, something that NHS hasn’t offered before.  It’s HM government doing MORE for the people of Britain than ever before!

    / sarc

    Anyway, I’m sure that the government won’t be telling EVERYBODY “no”.  I seem to recall reading about how NHS set up a special system for its own employees, basically so they could go to the head of the line.  And I’m sure that members of the government, including senior civil servants, won’t go a-wanting when they need a procedure, even if (like the premier of Quebec) they have to go out of the country to get what they need.  Orwell hit the nail on the head about socialism: “Some animals are more equal than others.”

    • Yes, I am confused why the British are so transparent about it. Is it because the NHS has simply existed so long they no longer need to obfuscate? I am sure our government rationing will all be about “safety” and “evidence based medicine” (which exists, but will be co-opted for use in rationing)

  • I have said elsewhere, and I’ll repeat it here;  Obamacare HAS to be the most broadly violated law in American history.  Each of us, I think, holds it as a duty to ourselves and our children to simply not participate in this travesty.  I am heartened by the number of doctors in my areas who are finding ways to opt out, and predict a healthy underground medical economy, if needed.
    Of course, the better course by far is to stiffen the spines of our representatives toward REPEAL of this affront to democracy and individual freedom.

    • It is already being violated. The government hasn’t really been implimenting it per the law. One example is that, per O care, congress should have lost their health care system when it was signed. I doubt that happened. The Democrats/government really are not implimenting it per the letter of the law. It was all about passing it. Now they will impliment it as they see fit, selectively, since they don’t really care to follow the law (they will be happy to force us to follow the law as they see fit, however).

  • The health care thing is just one element of the destruction wrought by this madman. But it has good dual purpose use: it destroys health care and contributes hugely to the destruction of the economy. But thank God he’s not depending solely on health care to destroy the economy. But don’t let it distract you from the destruction wrought in foreign policy. After all, that’s where you could see those really big explosions.

    Obama as president is like having some out-of-control evil child in charge of a munitions factory, detonating all that fun ordnance while staring madly down at his computer game.

    He’s a Twilight Zone episode come to life. Or a KGB thought experiment planted in the American political soil decades ago and only now sprouting long after the original planter has died.

    And none of the metaphors that can be called on to depict this beastly thing as it unfolds are going to offer much satisfaction when the true calamity sets in, when the wealth is depleted and the economy can barely function and the incoherent foreign policy has borne its fruit.

    • The health care thing is just one element of the destruction wrought by this madman. But it has good dual purpose use: it destroys health care and contributes hugely to the destruction of the economy.

      While those are true points, the WORST destruction comes in the ambit of individual liberty at the most fundamental level.  That is the facial purpose of this monstrosity.   That is why it must be disobeyed.

  • You can be certain that union members, specifically government union members will be among those who will be allowed to cut in line and not be subject to rationing.

    • Government employees are already non-participants. 

      • Heard an interesting stat on the radio yesterday, fwiw.  The average government employee wage is 20% higher than the average private sector employee.  When benefits are accounted (medical to retirement programs) that comes out to 100% higher than private sector employees. 

  • The irony of this being posted next to the lack luster response by the government to the oil spill is priceless.

  • Sigh.  The entire industrialized world has health care systems, and the British and Canadian models are about as far from the US plan as a system can be.   There is really no comparison, the systems are constructed absolutely differently.  The US does not and will not have a single payer system.  There are problems in all systems, but just as the German and French systems are fundamentally different from the British and Canadian systems, so is the US.
    Right now we have a market that rations (those who can pay get it), I’d say both extremes (pure market or government bureaucracy) are bad.

    • Shut up and pay attention. You’re arguments are, what, ten to twenty years out of date on the big questions and months out of date on what a reckless and idiotic thing this Obamacare monstrosity is. I don’t think there’s anyone even trying to defend it anymore. It’s garbage. Was conceived as garbage. And it has to go.

      And if the people in Maine need more free health care, let the state get rid of the dead weight in the university system. There seems to be an awful lot of it.

      • Come on, Martin. You just don’t understaaaaand. Healthcare is a moooooral riiiiiiight.

        But not a natural right, since such things don’t exist. I’ve proven it and I decree it. Nope, it’s a right constructed by carbon-based life forms for completely pragmatic purposes. And how a moral right is based in pure pragmatism that allows whatever you can get away with is a complex philosophical concept that can only be understood by people like me with godlike powers of political science. Certainly not by Neanderthals like you, who are the subject of my current book “Righties in the Mist: Observing Those Strange Aboriginal Creatures in the Their Native Blog Habitats.”

        See, we need a mixture between market and government control. With wise leftists running the government side, of course. And don’t start with how I’ve previously said the British and Canadian systems are just fine and now I’m backing away from that. There’s no inconsistency there, because of post-modernism’s multiple truth thing. Though I don’t buy post-modernism. Except when I do.

        I have to come here and tell you sterile, inbred, Nazi-like, code-word racists the way the world really works, because you’re too blinded with racism and ignorance to see it. I have to explain things like you can’t be pro-Israeli without being pro-Palestinian. And you can’t be pro-private-healthcare without being pro-government-healthcare. And you can’t be pro-Red Sox without being pro-Yankees. Don’t you get it? Those statements are deep, deep, creamy analysis {analysis, analysis, analysis} and certainly not trite nonsense statements that I use to try and sound profound. And if you disagree, you doth protest too much.

        Besides, our healthcare system has to be planned out so that it can deal with unlikely quantum events that superpose and cause quantum funneling because of the Hindenberg Uncertainly Principle, which end up killing stray cats in boxes. Because it’s just a short step to killing people in boxes, if I understand how Dilbert Space works.

    • Scott, please cut the crap.  We can see Massachusetts denying increases to insurance companies so that they operate (for a short time) at a loss.  We see from yesterday the federal government is funding about $250 million to the states to monitor the expenses of health insurance companies.  We all remember Barney Frank indicate this law is the fastest way to get to single payer.  We see conditions being put on companies and health care plans that will force people into specific types of plans.  We see not only a continuing series of lies from Democrats and this President, but the obvious fact we cannot afford what this bill already promises.  We see the CBO agrees the costs are significantly understated.  We see the “doc fix” was excluded from the health care bill, but has to be done anyway.  (Would you want to be on Medicare when your doctor gets a 21% pay cut to treat you).
      Scott, you are either incredibly  naive and unknowledgeable, or unable to accurately assess what you see, or lying to yourself and others.   You are very, very far from being correct.  What exactly do you teach your kids?  I shudder to think of that.

      • Scott’s lying. He’s an Obama shill.

        That was very, very obvious by the way he reacted to Palin. Scott likes to act moderate, but it is just an act.

      • We have AMPLE models from which to choose right here in the U.S.  Mass. is but one.  Washington and Oregon are places where you do not want to present with the wrong malady.  If you do, you’re doomed if you are relying on the largess of government.

      • Naivete may be an excuse for the young, but once you reach a certain age it is revealed as nothing more than stupidity. Erb reached that age some years ago.

      • Rick, you’re simply wrong.  You’re the one unknowledgable.   We aren’t getting a single payer system.   Do you think such a thing could pass Congress?  I compare systems in Europe, see weaknesses and strengthes of different approaches.  I like the German system, but they need to reform it (moving to the ‘right’ — it’s too liberal on a number of fronts).  But to use Canada and England as baselines to predict where the US will go?  Nope, that makes no sense.

        • Your capacity for inference is about 1.2 on a 1 to 10 scale, Scott.

          He didn’t say that this is a single payer system, but that it is the road to a single payer system, which is what this level of interference in the medical industry market will inevitably lead to, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

          But it’s almost a moot point because this “universal” system is unique in that it’s virtually bankrupt before it even gets going. It’s a monstrosity created by morons for imbeciles.

        • I would say Scott’s inference ability is about a -1.2 on that 1 to 10 scale.  As long as the government controls the exchanges, controls the shape and coverage of the insurance policy,  controls the cost of the policy, and forces any non conforming policies out of existence, we have the equivalence of a single payer system.  How could it be otherwise.  If the federal government tells United Health Care what to charge, what to cover, and how much to pay, we have a single payer system with a middle man to make it more expensive.

    • Right now we have a market that rations (those who can pay get it), I’d say both extremes (pure market or government bureaucracy) are bad.

      What a condescending puke.  We have, in free enterprise, systems that ration housing, groceries, and ownership of Mercedes Benz.  That is not “extreme”, and your Obamic “false choice” BS won’t play here.  There is no free market in health care, as carefully arranged over decades by people like the killer Ted Kennedy.  There is no “third way”.  There is only a system where people decide on the use of their resources, or a system where others do at some degree or other.

      • Wow.  No third way?  Just one extreme or the other?  Aristotle had a fallacy that described the way you think.

        • Per Hayek, Scott: Once you start replacing markets with central planning the fraud of doing that (think Ponzi scheme) can only claim more wealth and destroy more market mechanisms. Hence, there is no stable “Third Way,” only a permanent shift toward the fraud until it collapses.

          Here’s a rule of thumb for you Scott: When you have two gigantic entitlement programs rapidly sinking into bankruptcy, don’t try to solve the problem by creating a third gigantic entitlement program.

        • Wow is right. Look in the mirror. Remove the beam, to wax biblical.

    • More twaddle from Maine. It reminds me of answers to essay questions by inattentive and not too bright freshman.
      First a statement of how complex the problem/situation is, then statement about how both sides have good and bad points, then a statement about how the current situation is unsustainable or unacceptable, then a brief closing statement about how the problem can be solved if only people of good will on both sides put away partisanship and work together to find pragmatic solutions. Blah blah blah……

    • Scott, if you think that the lower middle class needs free healthcare, I have an excellent website for you.

  • “Right now we have a market that rations (those who can pay get it)”
    Wrong asswipe – walk into an emergency room, and they will treat you.  They’ll get you to sign paperwork that says you’ll agree to pay, eventually, but you’ll get your treatment NOW.
    So stop LYING and pretending that treatment is solely dependent on you walking around with a truck load of gold behind you.

    • Looker, the fact that the poor have to go to an ER is an example of how f**ked up the system.  That’s the most expensive care!  That screws up everything!  And it leads people to bankruptcy, and makes no sense.  We have to have a system where the poor don’t have to use the most expensive care in order to get treated.  You really need to educate yourself on these issues, to say that they should use the ER is to show utter ignorance of the economics behind this!

      • “That’s the most expensive care!”

        Very good. Now, the next step is to ask why.

        C’mon, you can do it.

      • “to say that they should use the ER is to show utter ignorance of the economics behind this!”

        Let’s try again, shall we?
         Why are ER visits so expensive?

    • Yeah, for non-emergency care the poor need somewhere they can go without getting a huge bill. Lets call it a free clinic. What? There’s already free clinic across the country, mostly located in the same places the poor are concentrated. Oh.

       But what about all those medical bankruptcies? The vast majority of those aren’t due to medical bills, they’re because the injured party isn’t paying any bills when out of work. Only 17% of bankruptcies (among  a study of people with an average income of $25,000) had medical bills as even one factor, fewer with them as the most important factor.

      Leaving Erb’s demonstrated education level at zero.

  • You guys are so far off it’s not even funny.
    I was listening to NPR yesterday (true story!), and they did a journalistic BJ (aka “news report”) on Tom Periello — he’s the donkey incumbent running in VA-5. Tom “Man of the People” Periello said that all of the talk of “death panels” was ridiculous and false. I KNOW you’re all thinking “death panels”, just like Caribou Barbie.
    Well, you can stop that now: there will be no “death panels” in ObamaCare because there will be NO denial of treatment, for any reason whatsoever, under ObamaCare. Everyone will have all of the care that they want, and it will be better and cheaper than what we have now.

    • Did they talk about replacing cars with Moonponies, I’m hoping for a silver one with a jet black mane and tail, but I’ll take a plain old brown one if that’s all that’s available that day, I understand the pretty silver ones may be in short supply.

      • Well, the Engineer Deluxe mandated that all highway vehicles are going to get TWICE the mileage, at half the pollution, in a DECADE.  Moonponies are about the ONLY way that’s gonna happen…  Hold out for your silver one, but I think the IRS Commissars have first dibs.