Health Care: Britain moves Right, America moves Left

Britain’s National Health Service is a medical and budgetary disaster.

Long lines, sub-par treatment (to American standards) and overcrowded hospitals are the norm with the NHS.  The enormous cost that is associated with trying to run their “free” public heath service is enormous, which has led to a few cuts in spending.  According to the Telegraph, those cuts include:

* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.

* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.

* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.

* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.

* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.

* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.

* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.

In addition to sharp spending cuts, the New York Times is reporting that Britain is looking into decentralizing control of NHS, which is run by a centralized bureaucracy (aka ‘death panels’).  Under the proposal control would be shifted to doctors at the local level, saving administration costs by as much as 45% due to increased efficiency.

This news comes while Senator Harry Reid makes the statement, “We’re going to have a public option…It’s just a question of when.”  He either does not understand or does not care that the public option has failed in Britain.  Thinking like that also led him to say, “fear tactics of those who say Social Security is going broke. It’s not.”  Oh ya, Mr. Reid?  I seem to remember the CBO reporting that SS will pay out more benefits this year than it receives in taxes.  If that is not true, then…say it with me…show me the money!