But that does not mean I want a total government takeover of the health sector like in the United Kingdom.
For example, in a column for the New York Times, Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick complain that their country’s government-run health system is being starved of funding.
…you don’t have to work in a hospital to know that Britain’s N.H.S. is in the most serious crisis of its history; you just have to be injured, or ill. Thousands of people are estimated to have died in the last year because of overwhelmed ambulance and emergency services. There are 7.2 million people in England, more than 10 percent of the population, on waiting lists for treatments… That the flagship health care service of one of the wealthiest countries in the world is in such a state is shocking, but not without explanation. Decades of marketization, 10 years of Conservative austerity and a pandemic have hollowed out the N.H.S… A government-commissioned report released last year called the years between 2010 and 2020 the N.H.S.’s “decade of neglect.” …The N.H.S. as Britons have known it — accessible, free at the point of use, cherished — is becoming something else. But as long as there are still people willing to fight for it, it’s not too late to save it.
If you read the full column, you might notice something very odd.
The authors share lots of data about the poor performance of the U.K.’s government-run system. And they share some good data about patient dissatisfaction.
But when they complain about how this is the fault of austerity, they don’t share any numbers.
That made me very suspicious, sort of like the dog that didn’t bark from Sherlock Holmes.
Lo and behold, there was no austerity.
If you look closely, there was a very brief slowdown in the rate of growth starting in about 2010, but there were never budget cuts.
Indeed, the burden of NHS spending grew by an average of more than 6.7 percent over the past 25 years – much faster than inflation over the same period.
The moral of the story is that the NHS is doing a lousy job, but it’s not because of a shrinking budget.
P.S. I mentioned at the start of the column that I don’t like the current health system in America and that I also don’t like the idea of a British-style system. If you want to know the better approach, click here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Courtesy of International Liberty.
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