Pipes on Socialized Medicine

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Writing at Forbes, Sally Pipes discusses something I commented on long ago:

[British patients have] foregone cutting-edge medical treatments available in the United States, told by their leaders that these new therapies were no better than the old ones -- just more expensive. At least in Britain, they thought, everyone has access to basic health care. That has to be better than the situation in America, where tens of millions of people lack health insurance, right?

Hardly. The British healthcare system may "guarantee" access to care -- but that doesn't mean patients actually receive it.

Take the case of David Evans, a 69-year-old farmer living in Cornwall, in southwest England. About a year ago, he developed a hernia and needed an operation. Despite government requirements that he receive treatment within 18 weeks of diagnosis, he still hasn't been treated.

Recently, he had to use his own ultrasound equipment -- typically used to examine pregnant sheep -- to check the hernia himself and determine if it was getting worse.
Pipes puts scare quotes around the term "guarantee", but she could have just as easily used them around the word "access", as I did when considering the issue before:
That's right: If you obtain more medical care than John Conyers, Barack Obama, or Donna Christian-Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) feel like allowing you to have, that's "excess consumption."
I suppose that one way to get around your constituents not having "access" to medical care is to effectively make it illegal.
And the global economic depression is, as Pipes notes, only going to further curtail "access" to "excess" medical care. The whole article is worth reading for its up-to-date examples of central planning -- once again -- utterly failing to provide customers with services their lives (or the quality of their lives) depend on.

Following the article is this interesting blurb:
Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her next book -- The Pipes Plan: The Top Ten Ways to Dismantle and Replace Obamacare (Regnery) -- will be released in January 2012.
I am unfamiliar with Pipes, and tend to react with skepticism when I hear claims to the effect that some public policy proposal or other relies on "market forces". Nevertheless, I hope that this book and others like it succeed in rekindling the debate about the government's current, improper role in the medical sector.

-- CAV

No comments: