Monday, July 26, 2010

Frightening Healthcare Rationing on Its Way to the UK

The UK's National Health Service has drawn up secret plans for sweeping cuts to services, with restrictions on the most basic treatments for the sick and injured, the UK's Telegraph reports.

Patients’ groups have described the measures as “astonishingly brutal”, says the Telegraph.

The Telegraph reports the following horrifying details:

* 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.

The Sunday Telegraph found the details of hundreds of cuts buried in obscure appendices to lengthy policy and strategy documents published by trusts. In most cases, local communities appear to be unaware of the plans
Think of this as a preview as to what will happen under Obamacare. Micromanaging something as huge as the healthcare system is simply an impossibility that will ultimately fail. Micro-managers kill off incentives for people to work, distort price structures and kill off innovation. Further, new capital needed to keep such a huge sector of the economy operating, and expanding, is sucked off by the politically powerful. This is why shortages and cuts in services develop. It's Economics 101. Anyone who fails to respect Econ 101 suffers from what Hayek called, "The Fatal Conceit", i.e., thinking the economy, or huge parts of it, can be micromanaged. Not going to happen, successfully.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure when we get to that point President Biden will just sign a law outlawing shortages.