Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Daniel Hannan on HealthCare Reform

I saw this on Beck last week. Hannan is quite informative on the British NHS and provides some interesting information about its history that many people seem to forget.

HANNAN: Listen, our system, our NHS came out of a peculiar time, we were basically under full mobilization when we invented this, right? It was.


HANNAN: It's Word War II, 1944. So, it was a time when we had food rationing, when everything had been nationalized, when he had hugely high taxes, you know, because everything had been conscripted into the war.
That was the product — that was the thinking that led to the state health care system.

I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system in peacetime and massively expanding the role of the state when there's no need.

BECK: Because they would say that this is going to save us money.

HANNAN: Well, you know it is the single biggest item of our government budget. And, it's — you know, the state generally doesn't do things as efficiently as the market does. Of course, it doesn't. If you know that you're getting the same treatment without paying for it, you have no incentive to keep costs down.

The NHS came out of a time when Britain was not only broke, but almost broken. The NHS was a great thing at the time because it ensured that people would at least be capable of getting the minimum health support for regular lives. That's not the problem today in the USA. Why would we choose to strap on a system that all examples show ends in inefficiency and red tape?

And the truly disturbing point:
HANNAN: We have 1.4 million people employed by the National Health Service. It is the third biggest employer in the world after the Red Army in China and the Indian National Railways. Most of those 1.4 million people are administrators, that the managers outnumber the doctors and nurses. And that is the electoral bloc that makes it almost impossible to get rid of.

So, if you do this thing, if — you know, you're going to decide.

That bothers me to no end. If we become like the Brits, our version of NHS will be disturbingly powerful just as an electoral bloc. Imagine how the Unions are salivating over that bit of gold that they can pack into their coffers. Power in that combination will be destructive to everyones detriment.

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