The Same Problems Of Managerial & Professionalist Opportunism Infest Both Private & Public Health Care “Systems”
by Emmett Smith
Sean Gabb yesterday in the English Libertarian Alliance web log posted the following analysis. It provides much food for thought — at least to those still capable of that function after all of the absolutely brainless and objectively God-damned yapping by Democrats AND Rape Ugly Cons over “Obamacare:”
Among many other interesting things, Dr Gabb writes:
‘Here, I must dissent from much of the American condemnation. There is no doubt that the NHS [British National Health Service –BW] is inefficient, and that it rations health care by waiting list and by explicit refusal to provide certain kinds of treatment to anyone, or by refusal to provide certain kinds of treatment to those deemed unlikely to benefit from them given their cost.
‘But rationing in one form or another is inevitable to any system of health care.
‘The demand for health care is unlimited.
‘There is almost no one so ill that his life could not be prolonged, or his condition while alive not improved, by some expensive treatment.
‘The problem is always at what cost?
[emphases added — BW]
‘In a broadly private system, demand will be rationed by price. In the British system, it must be rationed by cost and benefit analyses undertaken by the doctors. It is easy for American critics to point to how long someone over here must wait to have his haemorrhoids cut out, or that he may be denied some drug that will put off or ease his death from cancer. But their own system is hardly perfect.
‘In attacking the British system, these critics seem to argue that their own is based on individual choice and free from any taint of collectivism. I am not an expert on the American system, but it does strike me as so heavily regulated and cartellised as to have little connection to a free market. The professional associations have worked to limit the numbers of doctors and nurses, even as they have obtained the exclusion of the unqualified from the provision of medical services. The drug companies benefit from patent laws and trade protections that raise the price of medicines far higher than in neighbouring countries. The insurance companies are regulated in the interests of medical suppliers. I am told that forty million Americans cannot afford health insurance premiums, and that millions more cannot afford what most would regard as appropriate cover. These people, I accept, are not denied all treatment. But the treatment they receive is often rather poor. Even those who can afford to pay as they go find that it can take years for new medicines or medical procedures to be allowed by the authorities. In particular, I am told that many dying of cancer cannot obtain adequate pain relief. It is legal for opiates to be prescribed in America. But the regulatory framework is so ferocious that many doctors are frightened to write out the prescriptions they otherwise would.’
[Emmett R Smith
[all introductory text-rights reserved & all others revert to holders
[18 August 2009]