The Times of London has given up on national healthcare. The vaunted British NHS is a vast sinkhole of money, inefficiency, failure and incompetence, according to the piece by Melanie Phillips.
The fiction has to be maintained that healthcare is getting better all the time. This is to mask the fact that the NHS’s core aim — to provide all with the same level of state healthcare free at the point of use — is an impossibility. It creates an inexhaustible demand for funding.
The NHS in England spends £116 billion per year. It’s still not enough. Hospitals are now being told to shed staff to dangerously low levels. This was entirely predictable.
The NHS has been around since 1948, when such solutions were incredibly popular. Even Harry Truman wanted to implement national healthcare in the U.S. in the post -WWII years. From the NHS’ own website, the central principles of the service are to “be available to all and financed entirely from taxation, which means that people pay into it according to their means.” And yes, that’s socialism.
Just as Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and even Donald Trump have stated that want to move us into some kind of socialist system, the Brits, who nearly pioneered that system, are proclaiming that they’re through with it.
Countries have many different types of social insurance but the common feature is that people pay into a scheme that covers healthcare provision for all. Because purchasers can choose to leave one scheme for another, competition drives up standards. Paying for care is thus viewed as both equitable and value for money.
All healthcare systems are having to grapple with the insoluble problem of inexhaustible demand. Surely, though, the public should be credited with some intelligence. The NHS model has expired. It has ceased to be. Time to ’fess up, end the deceit and move on.
Here’s what Trump said on health care in his book “The America We Deserve,” which was published in 2000.
I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on health. It is an unacceptable but accurate fact that the number of uninsured Americans has risen to 42 million. Working out detailed plans will take time. But the goal should be clear: Our people are our greatest asset. We must take care of our own. We must have universal healthcare.
Our objective [should be] to make reforms for the moment and, longer term, to find an equivalent of the single-payer plan that is affordable, well-administered, and provides freedom of choice. Possible? The good news is, yes. There is already a system in place-the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program-that can act as a guide for all healthcare reform. It operates through a centralized agency that offers considerable range of choice. While this is a government program, it is also very much market-based. It allows 620 private insurance companies to compete for this market. Once a year participants can choose from plans which vary in benefits and costs.
This sounds a lot like Obamacare to me: A centrally-administered market for private insurance. Obamacare has failed. Trump says he has “evolved” on health care, but still wants universal coverage.
Well, I like the mandate. I don’t want people dying on the streets. The Republican people, they don’t want people dying on the streets, but sometimes they’ll say “Donald Trump wants single payer.”
No, Republicans didn’t say that. Donald Trump himself said he wanted single payer, but he evolved. Fair enough.
Sanders has not evolved. He wants Medicare for All, a full single-payer system. Sure, Sanders denounces the NHS “we own it all” model, but the fundamental transformation of American health care to a European system will bring about British-style problems without the advantages (if there are any advantages). While the U.K. wants to move from total government healthcare to a continental European system, Bernie thinks America can make that pivot from the other side. Trump thinks so too.
These are not new problems, and American healthcare markets and populations are different than Europe. The GOP spent a few years developing a viable alternative to Obamacare called the American Health Care Reform Act (AHCRA). I did a two-part series where I interviewed Georgia Republican Rep. Austin Scott, who served on the Republican Study Committee which drafted the plan. (Part 1 and Part 2.)
Moving from Obamacare toward universal health care is the wrong move. Moving toward single-payer (which is the whole point of Obamacare, which was designed to fail) is the wrong move. As Scott said, “there’s no silver bullet.”
The Times of London realizes that the U.K.’s healthcare system is deeply flawed and failing in every way. They realize there’s no silver bullet. Why don’t our candidates?