What’s the latest scandal about the collectivist British National Health System (NHS)? As the headline indicates, it could be the fact that a new investigation has revealed top players at the NHS telling local administrators to not only keep planned cuts hidden from the press and public, but also to resist any formal requests for public documents on the subject of the NHS insolvency and health facility closings.
Or it could be the fact that this immense international story about a health system that US collectivists hold up as a model for the rest of the world made barely a ripple in the US national media.
According to BBC News, the King’s Fund, an “independent charity working to improve health and care in England,” has conducted an investigation of the supposed shining jewel of government-run health systems, the bureaucracy that is so in the red (a 2.45 billion Pound deficit as of the last report in the November 14th Mirror) it has already had to sell off management of 200 NHS services to Richard Branson’s Virgin in an attempt to stem the bleeding.
Specifically, the King’s Fund discovered that the NHS is planning to close at least one London area hospital (it’s a game of NHS Roulette, with Epsom, St. George’s, Croyden, Kingston, and St. Helier on the list), merge services of four hospitals in Merseyside into one (those include Royal Liverpool, Broadgreen, Aintree, and Liverpool Women’s), cut “A and E” (Ambulatory and Emergency) services in numerous hospitals, and possibly cut maternity services in numerous hospitals.
The King’s Fund conducted anonymous interviews with local managers in the system and discovered that the managers claimed to have been told to keep the plans secret.
The local managers said they had been told to keep the process "private and confidential", which one described as "ludicrous", while another said the leadership had made the "wrong judgement call" in its approach to managing the process.
If a private company were revealed to be hiding its insolvency and inability to provide services, hiding its plans to cut jobs and consolidate branches, one might expect it to be a big story - and for the company to get into even more financial trouble as investors fled in droves. The market has a tendency to reward efficiency and productivity, and punish inefficiency and waste.
But the NHS doesn’t operate in a free market, and many pop media reporters who might tell us about this in the US have repeatedly shown they favor centralized government health services.
ABC news was a particularly grievous offender when it came to its bias favoring government-run health care. For years prior to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, ABC shills repeated numerous stories pumping up a “need” for federal action, when it was government action that had already decreased competition and increased costs in Medicare, Medicaid, and in various states where “Guaranteed Issue” mandates were applied to health insurance companies doing business there.
Despite assiduous US pop media attempts to deny it, economics applies to all services. The iron law of supply and demand dictates that, if demand for a service increases, the price is bid up. In a properly functioning economy, this increased price is a signal to attract new suppliers into the market – after all, they can see a way to make money because of this higher demand. Increased competition by the new participants pushes costs down, and leads to efficiency gains as the competitors try to beat each other at attracting consumers.
But, in a government-run system, the consumer is not the payer, which inspires increased demand for services - often for things the consumer would not pursue if he or she were spending his own money. Since the government does not allow competition, prices shoot up, and the politicians scramble. They have to either increase taxes to pay for the bloating system, or apply price caps and enact service cuts -- or do both.
This is precisely what is happening in the supposedly glorious UK health system, and there is no way to hide it forever. The NHS is bankrupt because the concept of state-run collectivism is bankrupt, and never, ever works.
But, don’t think all Brits will believe it. One British citizen, when confronted with this reality, told me:
"The system is insolvent because our government chooses to make it so in order to bring in a more costly system like yours (in the US) and make more money for their friends. I admire the American desire for independence but surely it should amount to more than what you do with the silly bits of paper that are the obsession of the modern age. Surely the choices are to pool resources as a society, exploit your fellow man or live nobly in the woods."
If this is an example of the mindset of a larger number of people in the UK, and they actually believe that the UK government is trying to bankrupt the system in order to “bring in a more costly system,” then one can’t expect a true change in the way British health care is provided. The very thing that could bring down costs is a market system. Without a market, the NHS will continue to act like a cancer, sucking productive skills and capital away from healthy market choices and stifling competition that could lower costs.
Many in England have a normalcy bias in favor of their socialist medical system. Such a mindset runs counter to all economic reality and human history. The NHS is crashing, and no amount of bureaucratic stealth or public blindness can stop this inevitable demise.