Why does Obama move toward National Health Care when Europe moves away from It?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 27th, 2011

Rationing is the Hallmark of National Health Care

Supporters of Obamacare say everyone will get quality health care services.  Opponents say it will result in lower quality and rationing.  The UK has national health care.  The National Health Service (NHS).  So how are things in the NHS?  Are they overflowing with quality health care services?  Or are they rationing.  Well, let’s take a look at one example in the vast NHS system (see Dementia checks at 75 urged by Alzheimer’s Society by Adam Brimelow, Health Correspondent, BBC News).

The NHS should offer checks for dementia when people reach 75, a leading health charity says…

Dr Laurence Buckman, from the British Medical Association, says there is value in the idea of screening for dementia, and that many GPs would be happy to carry it out. But he says many would struggle to find the time.

“It takes an hour to do an assessment, during which time five other patients could have been seen. In the current economic climate, when the NHS is being asked to make huge efficiency savings and there are many equally valid competing demands, patients and the public need to have a debate over which services should be prioritised.”

The NHS should check for dementia.  But doesn’t.  They could.  But they would have to make cuts elsewhere.  Because they have limited resources.  And more people that that they can handle on their current budget.  So they don’t check for dementia.  To save money for other patients.  That sounds like rationing.  And it is no doubt the future of Obamacare.

Europeans have Learned that Less Government is Best in their Health Care

The NHS is a behemoth.  With lots of bureaucrats and bureaucracy between doctors and patients.  And one thing about bureaucracies is that they don’t change much.  If at all.  They’re like a big ship with a tiny rudder.  Change is slow.  And hard.  It pushes bureaucrats out of their comfort zones.  So they resist change.  So while technology marches on in the private sector, the old way of doing things remain in these bloated bureaucracies. 

In the public sector bureaucracy there is a saying.  If it’s broke, don’t fix it.  Because fixing it may involve change.  And they don’t like change.  This is why people tend to get exasperated dealing with government bureaucracies.  At any level.  Standing in line to renew your driver’s license can be insufferable.  You’ll see state workers standing around doing nothing.  While you stand in line.  Why?  Because they can.  Where else are you going to go?  And so it is in the NHS.  You’ll have to deal with rationing.  Long wait times.  Impersonal bureaucrats.  Why?  You have no choice.  Where else are you going to go? 

Yes, there are problems in the NHS.  But they are not unique.  All of Europe’s health care systems are having problems (see Europe’s Failing Health by Javier Espinoza posted 3/28/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

Reformers want to reduce the state’s role in health-care delivery and introduce a competitive element…many feel that without innovation, crumbling state-backed systems will collapse as they struggle to cope with aging populations, soaring overheads and, more recently, mounting budget deficits.

The statistics paint a bleak picture. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union will see an increase in health expenditure of 350% by 2050, whereas at the same time the economy is only set to expand by 180%.

Some work has already been done to estimate the real impact on future expenditures. Friedrich Breyer, a professor of economics at the University of Konstanz in Germany, calculates that in Germany alone between 2020 and 2030 there will be a huge spike in the number of elderly people alongside an enormous drop in young and working-age people. “This will mean a dramatic increase in individuals’ payroll tax contribution rates to health care to 20.7% in 2030 and over 23% in 2040,” he says. This compares to just 11.4% in 1980.

Like that old saying says, competition makes everything better.  Without it there’s no incentive to improve.  Or a reason to worry about costs.  You just go to the government for more money.  Unfortunately, doing that for all these years just made these costs grow out of control.  And an aging population just compounds that problem.  You can thank birth control and abortion for that.  The baby boom was the population growth rate’s last hurrah.  And now we’re stuck with declining birth rate.  Fewer young who pay taxes.  And more old who consume benefits.  In an archaic system.  That’s cost inefficient.  In other words, health care systems around the world are broken.  And someone needs to fix them.

Unlike the U.K. health-care system, where the state manages and delivers the services, systems in the rest of Europe, particularly Switzerland, the Netherlands and to some extent Germany, rely more on a system of private insurance. Switzerland has been hailed as the least over-protective system. In that country health insurers are the ones who determine their fees and the services they provide—as long as they adhere to the basic services agreed in the country’s Health Insurance Law…

As a result of less government control, the Swiss health-care system has been able to reduce waiting time for treatment and pioneers new technology and pharmaceuticals, according to the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, a London think tank known as Civitas.

While President Obama is moving the U.S. towards a more centralized, state-controlled behemoth, Europe is moving the other way.  It looks like the social democracies of Europe have learned that less government is best in health care.  Privatization lowers cost through competition.  And it’s reduced waiting times and increased quality.  And yet Obama wants to take the U.S. in the other way.  The wrong way.  Why?

…it is in the U.K. that arguably the biggest changes need to be made. The government of Prime Minister David Cameron is determined to reform the 63-year-old National Health System. It is undergoing a massive overhaul in an effort to save £1.7 billion ($2.7 billion) a year. Under the proposed plans, general practitioners are set to take control of commissioning services for patients. The government is proposing to scrap strategic health authorities and primary care trusts, which currently commission services. The government argues it does not have a choice. The country’s budget deficit is soaring and the NHS is one of the biggest drains on its resources…

Not everyone, however, is an advocate of health-care reform. In the U.K., trade unions have been vociferous in their discontent over the proposed overhaul of the NHS…

The big fear is that these reforms promote a system where you can top up. And this diminishes the quality of health and creates a two-tier system.”

The U.K. already has a two-tier system.  The rank and file British goes to the NHS.  The affluent travel to where they can buy the best health care that money can buy.

Once upon the time unions wanted to control their health care plans.  And they offered some nice plans.  Because that’s why people joined unions.  For the benefits.  Union benefits were always better than non-union benefits.  But unions everywhere want to shed their health care costs.  Because they’re just too damn expensive.  And they can’t pass these costs onto their employers anymore.  Trade union members in the U.S. have long been contributing to their health care costs.  And the size of that contribution just seems to keep on growing.  The unions want out.  They want national health care.  But not the people who currently have private health insurance.  Because they know things will get worse.  There’ll be longer waits.  And lower quality.  How do they know that?  By simply looking at what’s going on in Europe.

Obamacare:  Transferring Money from the Private to the Public Sector

There is empirical evidence everywhere that shows Obamacare is wrong.  The U.K.  Europe.  Canada.  Cuba.  It tries to replicate here what’s already been proven wrong.  Everywhere people have tried it.  So why the persistence here in the USA to nationalize our health care?

Well, first of all, you have to look at who supports national health care.  They’re all Big Government people.  Unions.  Liberals.  Government statists.  And how do these people get power?  By pandering.  And you need money to pander.  Taxes were always a good for that until they became so high people resisted further increases.  Unions were also a good source of money (union dues supported liberal/statist candidates) but market pressures squeezed their pay (and, subsequently, what they could pay in dues).  Public sector unions were their best vehicle to transfer money from the private sector to their pockets.  Because there are no market forces involved.  Salary and wage packages are set by unions and government.  The taxpayers, who pay for these packages, have no say.  But their greed has bankrupted states and cities and angry taxpayers have voted statists out of office.  And that leaves nationalized health care as their last best hope.

You see, it’s not about providing quality health care to all Americans.  It’s about transferring money from the private sector to the public sector.  That’s why they ignore the empirical evidence.  Because they don’t care.  They just want to control that money.  And at about 17% of GDP, that’s a lot of money to pass through their greedy little fingers.  So while Europe tries to improve their health care systems, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al, are trying to enrich their political class at the expense of our health care system.  Further impoverishing working Americans.  And giving them a poorer health care system in the process.

Boy.  With friends like this in government, I guess we don’t need any enemies.

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One Response to “Why does Obama move toward National Health Care when Europe moves away from It?”

  1. Med-Updates.com

    Evidence raised over 'two-tier' health under government plans…

    The switch to GP-led commissioning could create a two-tier primary health care system, with some new consortia becoming the medical equivalent of “sink estates” – places where lower quality family physicians end up looking after poorer patients who h…

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