In the Coming Years the NHS will Suffer Budget Cuts, Rationing and Poor Patient Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The problem with national health care is that it is very, very expensive.  It’s one of the most expensive things a government can do.  And there comes a time a government can’t just keep raising taxes, or can’t keep borrowing money, any more.  And when a government reaches that point in time this is what happens (see NHS budget may be cut after election, says Hunt by Rowena Mason posted 10/4/2012 on The Telegraph).

The NHS budget may have to be cut after the next election if the economic crisis worsens, the new Health Secretary has suggested…

The NHS is already having to make savings because it is accustomed to its budget rising by more than inflation to deal with an ageing and growing population. It may also have to find up to £5billion a year to pay for the Dilnot reforms, which propose a cap on how much people must pay towards their elderly care..

Hospital bosses are already warning that the NHS savings needed before 2015 will harm patient care.

Finance directors working in the NHS said last week that the service has coped so far but things will get worse next year. In a survey for the King’s Fund, 40 per cent said that patient care would get worse in the coming years and the NHS would miss its overall target of making £20billion efficiency savings by 2015.

Free health care turns out to be very expensive health care.  Especially with an aging population.  Which is why the future of national health care is budget cuts, rationing and poor patient care.  As it will be under Obamacare.  After it puts the private health insurance companies out of business.  So they can transform Obamacare into the national health care system they always wanted.  And when it does there will be budget cuts, rationing and poor patient care.  Because America has an aging population, too.

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An Abandoned Surgery in Wales Indicate a Doctor Shortage in the NHS?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The NHS made a catalogue of serious errors on a surgery patient.  They apologized.  And paid the patient about $5,000.  All in a day’s work at the NHS (see Hywel Dda Health board pay-out over ‘catalogue of errors’ posted 10/4/2012 on BBC News Wales).

A health board has apologised and is paying £3,250 after a “catalogue of serious errors” involving a woman with a gynaecological condition.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales found Emma Turner’s care while being treated for endometriosis at Glangwili hospital, Carmarthen was mismanaged.

It found she suffered physical trauma, risk and worry when surgery was abandoned after it had started.

Accidents happen.  No one is perfect.  Which is why there is malpractice insurance for doctors.  And liability insurance for hospitals.  Well, in the U.S., at least.  So what exactly led to this catalogue of serious errors?  As it turns out, something that probably wouldn’t have happened in the U.S.  Well, before Obamacare, that is.

Miss Turner, 26, had surgery to remove a cyst from her left ovary in June last year but a severe form of endometriosis – a condition that can lead to infertility – was found.

Further surgery was scheduled for September which would be a joint procedure by a consultant gynaecologist and a bowel surgeon.

But after it had begun it had to be stopped because the surgeon was not available and an on-call replacement felt the procedure was so complicated it should be carried out in a specialist department.

They started the surgery even though one of the two surgeons was a no-show.  Trusting that the on-call replacement could perform any surgery he or she was called on to do.  The on-call surgeon then said the complexity of the surgery was beyond his or her skill level.  Despite being on-call for just such an emergency.  Which is why they had to abandon the surgery after they had already started.  Because the hospital wasn’t staffed appropriately.  And why was that?  The aging population in the UK has forced the NHS to ration health care.  In part because they can’t find enough doctors to staff their hospitals.  Something to look forward to as Obamacare mutates into a full-blown national health care system.

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Australia votes down Gay Marriage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

It would appear the Americans aren’t the only ones voting down gay marriage.  When it appears in a referendum the Americans have consistently voted against the measure.  While Left used the courts to go against the will of the people in some cases.  But, by in large, despite President Obama’s changing his position on gay marriage this election cycle, the Americans are not ready to redefine what marriage is.  A union between a man and a woman.  Just like in Australia (see Gay marriage ‘conclusively’ defeated, says Kevin Andrews by AAP posted 10/6/2012 on The Australian).

THE gay marriage debate had been “conclusively won” and the matter was “settled”, a Liberal frontbencher told a Christian lobby group today.

Opposition families spokesman Kevin Andrews addressed the Australian Christian Lobby’s national conference in Canberra today…

Outside the conference at the Hyatt Hotel about 20 marriage equality campaigners protested with banners and chanted “hey hey ho ho these homophobes have got to go,” as a sole policeman watched on.

I don’t know if those who oppose gay marriage are homophobes.  It is just a matter of conscience.  There are a lot of Christians in the world.  And the world is a better place for it.  Even those who fought their parents all during their turbulent teens will agree.  Which is why so many of them now take their children to church.  So their children will grow up without doing everything they did as a child.  And not make the same mistakes they did.  Despite all of their parents’ protestations.  It’s not because they are hypocrites.  Is just that they grew up.  And have learned that their parents were only trying to do what was best for their children.  As they are doing now that they are parents.  Funny how that works.

Faith is important.  And when their faith does not include gay marriage they cannot in good conscience vote for it.  Nor can their representatives.  But it doesn’t make them homophobes.  For they’re just saying ‘no’ to gay marriage.  They’re not trying to round up gays like they are in Iran.  They just want to keep marriage what it has always been.  A union between a man and a woman.  The partnership that makes it possible to raise a family.  Should a married couple choose to raise a family.

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Economic Sanctions causes Collapse in Iranian Rial and Protests against Iranian Regime

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The economic sanctions are making their mark in Iran.  The people are suffering the economic consequences.  But so far it doesn’t look like it’s encouraging any change in official Iranian position on their nuclear program.  At least, not yet.  For the Iranian regime is beating back the protestors (see Iranian discontent rises as riot police fight protesters by Robert Tait, David Blair posted 10/3/2012 on The Telegraph).

Security forces used tear gas and batons against demonstrators angered by a dramatic collapse in the national currency, the rial, which has lost about a third of its value against the US dollar since Sunday. The hour by hour decline of the currency provides vivid evidence of the damage wrought by international sanctions, which were imposed because of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

There were voting irregularities in the 2009 Iranian elections.  Protests erupted throughout Iran.  And the Iranian regime suppressed them.  President Obama did not support the protesters.  Nor demand that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad step down.  Even though the Iranian regime is an enemy of the United States.  They are an active sponsor of terrorism.  And a threat to regional peace.  But when the Arab Spring reached our ally, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, President Obama demanded that he stepped down.  Even though he didn’t use his army to suppress his people.  Now the country is run by the Muslim Brotherhood.  And is moving closer to Iran.

With the invasion of Iraq Libya made peace with the United States.  They were no longer a threat to the United States.  Or regional peace.  Yet President Obama committed military force to support the opposition in their civil war.    When the Arab Spring moved on to Syria, an Iranian ally, supporter of terrorism, home of Hezbollah, President Obama made no move to support the opposition.  And Syria has degenerated into a bloody civil war.  Sending refugees across borders.  And causing cross-border incidents.  The very thing the Obama administration warned of in Libya.  And used to justify their support in that conflict.

American foreign policy these days may appear a bit confusing to our friends and allies.  The U.S. is supporting sanctions against Iran to get them to abandon their nuclear programs.  Which probably would not have advanced as far had the Iranian protests in 2009 led to a regime change.  But the U.S. did not support the protestors.  Unlike in Egypt and Libya.  Nations that weren’t enemies of the United States.  Like Iran is.  So it will be interesting to see where these new protests may lead to.  Hopefully they will end well for the Iranian people.

Behind the rial’s decline lies a precipitous fall in Iranian oil exports, which have dropped from about 2.5 million barrels per day last year to 1.1 million barrels in August, according to the International Energy Agency. This has deprived Iran of billions of dollars of revenues and exposed the regime’s failure to avoid the damage caused by sanctions.

The collapse of the currency reflects a general loss of public confidence. The anti-government website, Kalemeh, cited eyewitnesses accounts that demonstrators demanded the overthrow of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The collapse of the rial makes it far more expensive for Iranian companies to buy imported goods. Mr Kushner said the latest decline “means that most Iranian importers simply cannot afford to pay for goods if they must use the free market rate.”

Instead of trading with the West, Iran has tried to buy more goods from countries likes China, India and particularly Turkey. However, the fall in the currency raises the price of imports across the board, meaning that they could become unaffordable. “We will see a real financial crisis in the coming months because the economy cannot sustain this,” said Mr Kushner. “It is bad, but will become a lot worse.”

With the fall in oil revenues the state has to make up for that revenue by other means.  And it looks like they’ve depreciated their currency.  That is, they’ve printed rials.  Making them worth less.  Which can be hidden somewhat in a closed economy.  But not with international trade.  Because to buy foreign goods you first have to exchange your money for the foreign currency of your trading partner first.  And when your currency is greatly depreciated it doesn’t trade for much foreign currency.  Making those imports very, very expensive.  Taking more and more rials to buy them.  Putting them out of the reach of ordinary Iranians.  Hence the protests.  And the lack of public confidence.

The Iranian people are ready for change.  Will they get it?  Time will tell.  Unfortunately for the Iranians, time didn’t treat them well in 2009.

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It’s becoming Too Expensive to Raise a Family in Singapore so Fewer are Raising Families

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Raising a family is expensive.  Once upon a time you could do it on one income.  But now with huge welfare states requiring heavy taxation one income rarely cuts it anymore.  It takes two.  Childcare.  And more cooperative employers.  For without all of this young people just won’t be able to afford to raise a family (see Survey: 50% couples not have babies because ‘Money No Enough’ posted 10/6/2012 on TR Emeritus).

According to a recent survey conducted by voluntary welfare organisation ‘I Love Children’, about 1 in 2 couples (50%) said not having enough finances is the main reason for not having children…

‘I Love Children’ is a voluntary welfare organization set up in September 2005 with a purpose of keeping Singapore young — by advocating a higher priority to having children, and promoting a society where children are loved and mainstreamed. It hopes to inculcate the value and importance of parenthood and family among Singaporeans, as well as encourage a children-friendly environment in Singapore.

To keep Singapore young.  All nations would like to keep their nations young.  To have an expanding population growth rate.  So they have more young workers entering the workforce than older workers leaving the workforce.  Why?  To avoid the financial crises they’re having in Europe.  Japan.  The U.S.  And like they will probably soon have in China.  Where all of these nations have an aging population.  Where more people are leaving the workforce while fewer are entering it to replace them.  So the tax base is shrinking.  As is tax revenue.  And this at a time when government spending on pensions and health care for the elderly is rising.  Which means fewer and fewer people will have to support more elderly people in their retirement.  As the tax base dwindles governments replace that lost revenue with more and more borrowing.  Leading to those financial crises.

At the dialogue session, 26-year-old Ms Gillian Neo, said, “Currently, infant care in Singapore is still quite expensive. Even the more affordable ones, after government subsidies, is still $700 a month…”

During the the dialogue session, young parents also said that flexi-work arrangements are a major incentive as that will enable them to spend more time with their children…

However, there is still a lot of resistance in the mentality of some of the management of companies towards this mode of working.

“I was offered a full-time work from home arrangement with my previous employer… Six months into it, it really fell flat on the ground. One of the reasons was my immediate supervisor was really not supportive of the arrangement,” said Mandy Loh, a freelance writer…

She said, “In fact, there have been studies done by the employers federation, for instance, to show that for every dollar spent on flexi-work options, the return is S$1.68.”

Madam Halimah also suggested that flexi-work arrangements could be used to attract people to work for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprise], which are currently facing a labour crunch.

The problem is not lack of affordable childcare.  The problem is that a high level of taxation (often to support an aging population) requires two incomes to raise a family.  Children are not supposed to be a nuisance that we dump off at childcare while we go to work.  They should be raised in a loving family with a full time stay-at-home parent.  A role typically filled by the mother.  The CEO of the house.  While the husband works full time to pay the bills.  Parenting is a team.  It takes two to raise a family.  A mother and a father.  Not a childcare facility.  And, no, this isn’t discriminatory to women because they can’t have a career and be a mother.  It’s what’s best for the children.

The working mom also comes with some baggage.  Especially if she is a key person on a project.  Because a snow day may pull her out of the office when they call an emergency meeting.  If a child falls ill she may be out of the office for a few critical days of the project.  If a meeting runs long because of a crisis she will still have to leave at 4:00 PM to pick up her kids from daycare.  If a project requires an emergency trip to another state she will not be able to go.  School holidays and half-days will take her out of the office, too.  These aren’t hypotheticals.  Many of us have probably experienced this in the workplace.  This is why employers are reluctant to hire single moms or single dads.  And a little reluctant to hire a married mom with young kids.  Because it is often the mother and not the father that will miss work for the kids.  As the father’s career will be more established because of less time missed for the birth of their children.  It’s not unfair.  Men and women are just different.  Women give birth.  Men don’t.

Emphasizing a woman’s career over her children has put more women into the workforce.  Which has allowed greater government spending.  This is why governments want state-provided childcare.  Because they want to get women back into the workforce as quickly as possible so they can resume paying taxes.  Which governments can never seem to collect enough of with an aging population.  Making it ever more difficult for young people to have the children governments want them to have.  To bring new taxpayers into the workforce.  So bringing women into the workforce probably hurts in the long run more than it helps.  For it allows the government to spend more.  But it also discourages young people from raising families.  Leading to fewer children.  An aging population.  And a shrinking tax base.  Which will probably be made up with more government borrowing.  As more nations join those in Europe, Japan, the U.S. and probably China who are suffering from the pressure of aging populations.  And the financial crises they cause.

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