Opposition to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) Reform Grows

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 12th, 2012

Week in Review

Things aren’t looking good for the bill to reform Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  From within the Cameron cabinet.  From within the Tories.  And from within the opposition (see Ditch the bill! Tory bust-up over health reforms amid claims minister described it as Cameron’s ‘poll tax’ by Tim Shipman posted 2/11/2012 on the Daily Mail).

He is concerned that failure to act will undermine Mr Cameron’s progress in ‘detoxifying’ the Tory brand when it comes to the NHS. He also fears that any problems caused by cuts to the NHS will be blamed on the Bill.

He said: ‘David Cameron’s greatest political achievement as leader of the Opposition was to neutralise health as  an issue.

‘The greatest mistake of his  time as Prime Minister has been to put it back at the centre of political debate.

This is the problem when you give people anything.  Once you do you don’t dare take it away.  Or hint that you might.  That’s why the NHS has become a ‘third-rail’ of politics.  Like Social Security in the United States.  You touch it and it will hurt you politically.  Even if the program is grossly inefficient and providing substandard quality.  You just have to let it.  If you want to keep your elective office.

There are worries that radical measures that would have created a genuine market in healthcare provision, driving down costs, have been stripped out as part of parliamentary horsetrading.

What remains are plans to reform the structure of the NHS that are not seen to have any obvious health benefits for patients…

Labour will this week seek to kill the Bill with a series of wrecking amendments in the House of Lords. Labour leader Ed Miliband last night wrote to every single peer, calling for cross-party support to pass further amendments to the Bill as they scrutinise it.

And, of course, the political opposition will pounce on any reform attempts to make a bad program good because it’s politically expedient.  For they will take any opportunity to hurt the opposition.  Even if it hurts their constituents in the long run.  Because politics trump the wellbeing of the people.  Always.

Will this be the future of Obamacare in the United States?  No.  It won’t be this good.  For the United Kingdom is big but the United States is bigger.  Far bigger.  And Obamacare will cover far, far more people than the NHS covers.  In fact, no one has ever tried national health care on a scale like this before.  And though proponents like to point to the NHS (or even the Canadian system) as examples for the U.S. to copy there will be no comparison.  It will be like taking a recipe to feed 4 and guessing how to increase each ingredient so you can use that recipe to feed 100.  The food prepared for 100 will taste nothing like the food prepared for 4.  The quality will suffer.  As will the quality of health care under Obamacare.  Because covering everyone in the United States will cost so much that Obamacare will have to ration health care services on a scale far greater than the NHS does.  Far, far greater.

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