Great Britain has a state-run health care system, having taken over virtually all medical care at little or no cost to the individual. That’s what many people in this country would also like to see eventually. But now the incredibly expensive British system has to save costs. Here are some of the ways the British government will save money:
* 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.
This is why so many Americans are leery of state-run health care. They don’t want to become dependent on the federal government for their very lives, knowing that what the state gives it can take away. The free market is the only way to allocate supply and demand while cultivating both freedom and abundance. (Yes, scarcity raises prices for the poor, but that can be addressed without taking over the whole system in a command economy run from above.)