[ExI] Yet another health care debate

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Mon Sep 22 18:21:30 UTC 2008

At 12:10 PM 9/22/2008 +0000, Tom Nowell wrote an excellent open-eyed 
summary of UK Health system.

I found that fascinating, Tom. Thanks!

To my inexpert eye, having some passing familiarity as a client of 
only Oz and US medical systems, it looks rather as if the worst case 
scenarios/worst fail points Tom identifies in the UK system are the 
very aspects that USians point to with pride in their own setup:

>some hospitals have tried to outsource everything possible, leading 
>to lower standards of cleanliness (from using cheapest bidder 
>cleaners) which conflicts with the clinical need to avoid 
>hospital-acquired infections, less flexible meals for patients 
>(cheapest bidder caterers) which can conflict with individual 
>patient needs, slower laboratory test results (sending lab tests 
>offsite to a cheaper lab across town rather than having a lab onsite).

The market at work! Hallelujah! (Or am I misunderstanding the 
invisible hand again?)

>In the NHS, you either have to be totally public funded, or totally 
>private funded. ... People with cancer have offered to pay for the 
>cost of the drugs, only to be told that they will then have to fund 
>the rest of the treatment costs as well if they do - so they would 
>have to pay the hospital costs, pay for the doctor to administer the 
>drugs, and the rest, all massively increasing the cost.

Not sure about this one, but here in TX I pay a lot of insurance 
against the chance of catastrophic illness or accident, and have to 
do all the above as a matter of course (since I'm not a derelict 
throwing myself on the mercy of the ER). Hallelujah!

Would be interesting to see equivalent point-by-point rundowns on the 
US system/s, Oz, etc.

Damien Broderick

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