Socialized Health Care; The British Complain
The London Times published an article today
about the hopeful next Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his plan to overhaul the National Health Service. There has been outcry at mismanagement in the system and frustration by the public at the apparent lack of attention to timely and quality care. As I mentioned in a previous post, the NHS is the fourth largest employer in the world and for the most part, a monopoly in the delivery of care in the UK.
Cameron brings up some interesting points. For instance, the lack of competition has resulted in complacency in the mindset of NHS. He states bidding out contracts to private companies will force the NHS to control costs and improve quality of care. Patients will then benefit from the process, have greater choice in their own treatment and jobs will be created from the competing companies.
Isn't that the system we have in the U.S.? We have the luxury of choice in providers, insurers and hospitals. We also have the risk of not receiving care at all or of racking up debts way beyond comprehension to address medical needs. Could the UK be heading for the same conundrum the U.S. is in right now?
Cameron doesn't want to eliminate the NHS. The British are not about to be left without basic health care...yet. Could both countries be heading for a similar resolution but from opposite starting points? Privatizing care for those who can afford it but offering a basic coverage for those who cannot afford it or for those who choose not to participate, is that the solution? What impact would it have on small business (private PT practices for example) if they didn't have to shoulder the burden of health insurance for their employees?
There is a Chinese curse that says, "May you live in interesting times." As for health care, the times are fascinating.