Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pipes On Socialized Medicine

In her 12/19/2011 Forbes column, Sally Pipes reminds us that "The Ugly Realities Of Socialized Medicine Are Not Going Away".

In her critique of the UK National Health Service she notes, "The British healthcare system may 'guarantee' access to care -- but that doesn’t mean patients actually receive it."

In addition to the poor quality care and rationing, there are indiginities such as:
A report released in October by Britain's health regulator found that a stunning 20 percent of hospitals were failing to provide the minimum standard of care legally required for elderly patients.

As part of the study, inspectors dropped by dozens of hospitals unannounced. They found patients shouting or banging on bedrails desperately trying to get the attention of a nurse. At one hospital, inspectors identified bed-ridden patients that hadn’t been given water for over 10 hours.

The upcoming austerity measures will only amplify maladies like these.

The NHS is broken -- and not in some superficial way that a simple tweak would fix. The incentives are wrong. The government's main priority is keeping costs low -- not providing quality care. Patients can't choose how they receive their care -- it's one-size-fits-all medicine. And the entrenched NHS bureaucracy has no reason to improve efficiency.
For more details (and implications for the US), read the full text of "The Ugly Realities Of Socialized Medicine Are Not Going Away".