[extropy-chat] Health data

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Sat Jun 17 04:54:48 UTC 2006

On Fri, Jun 16, 2006 at 11:38:06PM +0100, Charlie Stross wrote:

> > Impressive, given that the UK is near the bottom of the spending list!
> > Of course, the Left accuses the Thatcher-Major-Blair regimes of trying
> > to cut or bankrupt the NHS in the name of the market.
> [ Just ducking in ]

Always glad to have you!

> Oh yeah. Last time I had to go see my GP I was sitting in his  
> examining room all of five hours after I picked up the phone. I keep  
> *hearing* about the alleged one year waiting times, but I've never  
> met anyone who actually *did* have to wait a year -- or even a week  
> -- to see their GP.

The inverse of the American Cadillac welfare queen?

> I suspect this is because in the USA you have one interesting  
> phenomenon that's absent elsewhere: a vast, parasitic health  
> insurance industry that needs to keep medicine expensive -- and has  
> the advocacy/lobbying/advertising dollars to spend on convincing  
> everyone that their way is best.

Insurance does seem like something which should benefit from having a
really large risk pool, including the people who think they don't need
it now but will age into people who do.  But we've got the insurance
companies.  Of course, employer-linked insurance would also seem to
limit employee mobility and small business creation; can't just walk off
the job if you're worried about your health in the meantime.  Though the
gov't partially patched that with COBRA.  (For 18 months after leaving
work you get to keep your group plan at the old premiums, though you
have to pay them.)

-xx- Damien X-) 

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