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British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care

Soulskill posted 1 year,13 days | from the thanks-obama dept.

United Kingdom 634

An anonymous reader writes "Coinciding with challenges in the rollout of the U.S. Affordable Care Act are challenges for NHS. The Independent reports, 'A National Health Service free at the point of use will soon be "unsustainable," if the political parties do not come forward with radical plans for change before the 2015 election, top health officials have warned. Stagnant health spending combined with ever rising costs and demand mean the NHS is facing "the most challenging period in its 65-year existence," the NHS Confederation said ... In a frank assessment of the dangers faced by the health service, senior officials at the confederation say that the two years following the next general election will be pivotal in deciding whether the NHS can continue to provide free health care for all patients. "Treasury funding for the service will be at best level in real terms," they write. "Given that demand continues to rise, drugs cost more, and NHS inflation is higher than general inflation, the NHS is facing a funding gap estimated at up to £30bn by 2020."' From The Guardian: 'Our rose-tinted view of the NHS has to change.' More at the Independent, Mirror, and Telegraph."

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My spider sense in tingling.... (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160665)

I sense controversy in the air, a lot of it.

Don't worry, if you get hit by falling sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160675)

It'll be covered by your health care.

But try to die quickly anyway.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160793)

Goobully schoobully boobully, bob!
I'm fucking your rancid asshole!
I'm fucking your rancid hole!

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161043)

-1 Failed to Use Word "Fetid"

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160803)

Nah, that's just your allergies kicking in.

No surprise, really. Medical care is something hard to avoid - everyone will get sick / aged / infirm sooner or later and few will opt not to try and at least feel better, if not lengthen or improve their lives. Western medicine is simultaneously very powerful and pretty pathetic. We've gone after much of the low hanging fruit - the newer interventions are going to center on complex molecular biology and that stuff doesn't come cheap. On top of that the population is simultaneously increasing and aging. Not good for controlling medical costs.

We could limit costs. Remember the 80 / 20 rule (actually closer to 90 / 10) - a few patients consume most of the resources. Limit those folks and you've saved quite a bit of money. Of course, that's rather a large change in our social contract and I expect one that would not be palatable to the vast majority of people.

Barring that, there are still some options to reduce costs. Carefully evaluate the cost / benefit ratios of expensive therapies (bye bye dialysis). Basically freeze drug research (it's not like they have come up with any great new therapies) and essentially force generics. Get rid of Big Pharma's advertising budget (bigger than their research budget). Get rid of insurance companies and simplify the byzantine American medical system (one time savings, but a big one, basically kicks the can down the road). Limit reimbursement. Shoot the lawyers. Ration. Ration. Ration.

But people really want good health care which means somebody has to pay for it (preferably someone else). Now, IMHO, in the US at least, we could come up with all the money we needed if we restrained our military from trying to outspend the rest of the world by orders of magnitude. We don't need 11 carrier battle groups. We don't need the F-35. And so on - the money is there, we just have to figure out what our priorities are.

Unfortunately, given the partisan nature of US politics nothing substantive will happen. The ACA was likely the best political compromise available and it sucks big time (basically doesn't change the issues noted above). In the UK, obviously they have fewer levers to pull so they may, again, have to have that difficult 'social contract' conversation.

Just exactly what do you want society and government to do? (And don't give me any free market drivel, even the highly modified 'free market' in the US hasn't worked out so well in terms of patient safety. Just what do you think would happen if the government regulators went on permanent holiday. Do you think any consumer can rationally evaluate treatments? Who has the club in that scenario?)

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160877)

"And don't give me any free market drivel, even the highly modified 'free market' in the US hasn't worked out so well in terms of patient safety."

There's nothing even approaching a free market in the US. You can't negotiate a price (possibly on some elective things, but not much), you can't bring your own aspirin, hell, they can't/won't even tell you what they're charging for their aspirin until you get your bill.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160963)

"And don't give me any free market drivel, even the highly modified 'free market' in the US hasn't worked out so well in terms of patient safety."

There's nothing even approaching a free market in the US. You can't negotiate a price (possibly on some elective things, but not much), you can't bring your own aspirin, hell, they can't/won't even tell you what they're charging for their aspirin until you get your bill.

You can't negotiate a price when you need an ambulance or emergency care. The mystical, magical, almighty free market that you worship won't work there.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (2)

mc6809e (214243) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161053)

You can't negotiate a price when you need an ambulance or emergency care. The mystical, magical, almighty free market that you worship won't work there.

The government doesn't grow food. It gives people money to buy food but relies on the market to respond to the increased demand and provide it.

The government doesn't provide housing. It give people subsidies to buy housing and relies on the market to provide housing.

The government doesn't provide medical care (except at the VA). It gives people subsides and relies on the market to provide medical care.

There seems to be few problems for the government that can't be solved by giving away more money and having faith that the magic of the market will provide.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161249)

There seems to be few problems for the government that can't be solved by giving away other people's money and having faith that the magic of the market will provide.

FTFY

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (0)

Fjandr (66656) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161027)

You most certainly can negotiate price with physicians, surgeons, and hospitals. People do it all the time, but the vast majority are completely unaware that you can actually save money by negotiating and not paying insurance copays. It can be cheaper to get medical care by negotiating than by having health insurance.

And this is from first-hand experience.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (5, Informative)

reboot246 (623534) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161089)

Actually there is a free market success in the medical field. Laser eye surgery started out expensive and not covered by insurance. Now it's cheap enough to pay for out-of-pocket. I saw an ad just the other day for Lasik eye surgery for just $299.00 per eye. Not bad at all - cheaper than buying glasses in the long run.

The free market works when you let it.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161097)

In a true free market I could offer my doctor services cheap and undercut those other doctors who went to school.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (2)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161177)

You can't negotiate a price

You most certainly can. My father-in-law is not a US citizen. He came to New York for a surgery, balked at the initial price estimate, and negotiated it down significantly.

I have health insurance, so have never needed to do this, but you certainly can negotiate price - they key is to do it BEFORE you receive care.

I used to go to a dentist that suggested that I pay him a lower fee than I was currently paying in dental insurance premiums. I didn't take him up on it, but it was tempting.

Re: My spider sense in tingling.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160923)

Oh bog another liberal who's drunk the kool aid. Yes if we only did things the way you want we could save so much more. I'm rolling my eyes at you.

Problem is there ain't enough tax revenue from the youths in this country. Birth rates are too low. You disincentivized having children. Many don't want high paying jobs. So where are you going to find the dough to pay for it.

Sorry libs, progs, and other lefties. You fucked up the system with your perverse incentives.

Re: My spider sense in tingling.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161117)

Why do people feel they need to manufacture a leftist liberal who spend all the money when there is overwhelming evidence that a large portion of the money goes to support the military industrial complex? It wasn't a liberal that created the money pit called Iraq and Afghanistan.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (0)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161037)

We could limit costs. Remember the 80 / 20 rule (actually closer to 90 / 10) - a few patients consume most of the resources. Limit those folks and you've saved quite a bit of money.

Especially since, in a government-provided service, that 10-20% is being forced to pay for treatment that you're suggesting they not have access too. At least in a private system, if an insurance company won't cover you, they don't charge you either.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (1)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161167)

We could limit costs. Remember the 80 / 20 rule (actually closer to 90 / 10) - a few patients consume most of the resources. Kill or neglect those folks and you've saved quite a bit of money.

FTFY

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (5, Insightful)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161251)

You mean death panels? America already has them - they're called the Insurance Industry

Or we could (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161241)

just tax the rich more. Seriously. We put a _lot_ of effort to satisfying their whims and providing them with every creature comfort in the world. The only thing we'd lose is the (false) dream that we can have it ourselves. But then again good luck getting people to give that up...

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (-1, Offtopic)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160807)

Don't read this... it is a curse...

In 1978, a little boy named Thomas was walking through his hallway. Being the observant young lad that he was, he immediately spotted a box of graham crackers on the other side of the hallway right between the entrance to his parents' bedroom on the left and the entrance to the kitchen on the right. Suddenly, he had an epiphany; anyone who walks past that box of graham crackers must let a large black man insert his penis into their anus.

Then, as if doing so in the heat of the moment, Thomas dashed past the box of graham crackers. However, he was immediately apprehended and subjugated by the large black man whose existence was unknown to him a few minutes ago. The black man hastily ripped off Thomas' pants and underwear, forced him to get on all fours, and then stared blankly at Thomas' ass. After a few moments, the black man screamed, as if both surprised and angry, "There is no hole!"

Seizing the opportunity, Thomas escaped into the closet in his parents' bedroom. After a cursory glance, he noted the position of a cabbage patch kid sitting right next to him. His hope that he would be safe was obliterated when the black man came clumsily stumbling into the closet, bumping into the cabbage patch kid. The cabbage patch kid, enraged by their foolishness, got sucked into the black man's ass. While the black man's ass was getting tickled, Thomas sprinted out the front door of his house, and ran towards the road. There, he spotted a car waiting on the side of the road, and in the driver's seat was a friend whose name he couldn't remember signaling him to get in. Being that he was desperately trying to escape, he took up the enigmatic person's offer.

While Thomas explained the strange events that took place prior to him getting in the car, the car drove down the road at such high speeds that it looked like a blur to any passerby. Immediately after finishing his explanation, Thomas began to celebrate the fact that he escaped from that dangerous situation. His ebullient attitude was interrupted when the mysterious driver said, "Now, now, now's the time right now!"

Clueless as to what the person meant, Thomas stared at him blankly. The car then slowed down to less than 1 mile per hour, and the strange man said, in a voice that was dripping with malice and anticipation, "What slowness can I offer you? I'm copyright owner Madow!" Following this, he turned into an old man with messy hair that was wearing a butler's outfit. As if amused by Thomas' reaction, the old man stared and smiled at him. That's when Thomas sensed both that the car was no longer safe and that the cabbage patch kid from before was catching up to them. He knew that he could run far more quickly than the car was currently moving, so he got out of the car and began to run.

However, before he could get more than a few meters away from the car, an unseen entity lifted Thomas into the sky and flung him ass-first around the world. Thomas, not knowing what was happening any longer, screamed as he flew uncontrollably around the world at the speed of light. Eventually, he felt his ass crash into something, and even though he had not seen what it was, he somehow knew that it was the same cabbage patch kid as before. Thomas promptly felt something get sucked into his ass as if his ass was nothing more than a gigantic spaghetti noodle (just like grandma).

Soon afterwards, Thomas realized two things: that he could no longer escape and that his ass was becoming something entirely different from what it was before. Thomas could not fathom the change that his ass was going through, but he knew, deep in his heart, that it was transforming into something that he would never approve of. Seconds later, he came to the sudden realization that his ass was becoming something known as a "rumblehouse ass." In addition to this, he knew that it would be used as a bouncehouse by the cabbage patch kid.

The cabbage patch kid began to bounce off the sides of Thomas' ass. It bounced to the left; it bounced to the right; it bounced all around! Each time it hit a section of Thomas' ass, it inflicted tremendous, unimaginable amounts of tickle upon his ass. Unable to stand that which no being in existence could possibly endure, Thomas went mad. Despite this, the cabbage patch kid showed only feelings of amusement, and laughed at Thomas' pain...

Now that you have read even a single word of this, the very same cabbage patch kid will use your precious bootysnap as a bouncehouse in order to inflict extreme amounts of tickle upon your ass. To prevent this from occurring, copy this entire story and post it as a comment three times.

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161113)

Yes, I think most of your posts are a curse. Could you work on that? Maybe aim for higher quality? Try being better informed?

Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161123)

I'm glad you posted that logged in so I could use all of my mod points to mod as many of your posts down as I could.

fine we can put you on the blacklist (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161255)

now if you want to see the doctor you better be able to pay the X1000 markup at the ER or go to prison / jail

don't worry folks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160671)

Imam Obama has forseen such outcomes, and all will be well for us here in the States.

Rose-tinted view indeed (1, Insightful)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160673)

And this is the system Democrats want the United States to emulate?

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160729)

Nevermind all of the single-payer health care systems of virtually every other country that are working fine...

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160787)

Yes... Just fine. Those stories of long waits, or unavailable diagnostic care are just rumors, I am sure...

I am sure that some are very good. I also know that others are not. Which one do you bet our government will put out? You know... The government that gave us the TSA...

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160865)

Yes... Just fine. Those stories of long waits, or unavailable diagnostic care are just rumors, I am sure...

Long wait, no service ever or expensive service you can't afford? Pick one.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160869)

Isn't long wait times equivalent to not having sufficient funds for care. It's just not as apparent.

Indeed, any system with a single payer system must constantly debate and refactor as necessary. Efficiency is an issue. This is a problem of both design and individuals.

On the matter of long wait times, perception plays a critical role in propaganda. Numerous studies from one group or another suggests that overall well being/care doesn't vary much between developed countries, despite the difference systems. So, are long wait times killing people or perhaps are they correlated with severity of the case or type of illness?

As an American why aren't you researching rather than relying on "stories" that you've heard.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161067)

As a person who has lived in those countries, and in the US, the stories are greatly exaggerated by the republican side of the argument. In general, I would say I have been treated more promptly, and with less hassle in countries with socialised health care than in the US. The UK if anything has been best of all in this regard, as it involves absolutely no payment when you are treated, which takes a large chunk of stress out of the situation.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161205)

The UK if anything has been best of all in this regard, as it involves absolutely no payment when you are treated, which takes a large chunk of stress out of the situation.

Ironic that you post this in an article about NHS potentially discontinuing free care...

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1)

TClevenger (252206) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161155)

Yes... Just fine. Those stories of long waits, or unavailable diagnostic care are just rumors, I am sure...

Hey, just like my HMO.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (3, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161165)

Long waits? When was the last time you went to visit your doctor in the US? I'm lucky if I can see him this week.

Same with the emergency room - unless you are bleeding all over the place chances are you'll be waiting for a couple hours.

My one scrape with socialized medicine was in Canada where they fixed a broken arm - put it in a cast. I don't remember waiting at all in the emergency room and to this day I haven't been billed.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (-1, Troll)

Enderandrew (866215) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161011)

Like England, which can't afford it?

Like France which is arguing can't afford to cover immigrants?

Like Canada where the government is laying off doctors and nurses and people are starting to get private insurance because the government isn't covering everything?

Like Mexico where single-payer health care is truly awful and the only real health care is for the rich?

Like Greece where the country is bankrupt?

Like Iceland where the country is bankrupt?

The health care you receive in these countries is not the same as what Americans expect today. Americans wouldn't put up with lottery systems or lengthy waiting lists for life saving surgery. Heck, in the United States we have prescription drugs for getting thicker eyelashes.

There is a reason why people travel from all over the world come here for the best care. And we're already spending $732 billion a year on government programs for free health care (not counting the $75 billion a year we're adding in unfunded additional costs from the ACA).

Private health care in the United States is over 2 TRILLION DOLLARS annually. When people suggest the US can simply must make all health care free because someone else does, it is ill informed, ridiculous and irresponsible. The additional 2 TRILLION DOLLARS doesn't just magically appear out of thin blue air because you wish it to.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161201)

"Americans wouldn't put up with lottery systems or lengthy waiting lists for life saving surgery"

Yes, instead they'd form large organisations who work out who is rich and who is poor, and let the poor people die.

Those organisations would cost a lot of money, but definitely worth it.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (3, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160737)

>And this is the system Democrats want the United States to emulate?

No. Where did you get that idea?

The ACA simply makes it easier to get insurance and requires people to purchase it.

There is nothing free about it.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (3, Insightful)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160925)

Single-payer is what they wanted. ACA is what they could get past the Republicans.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (2)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161143)

Oh no, no, no. ACA was passed on a party line vote. It was what the Democrats would support that was the limiting factor. As it was they passed it by hook or by crook, with plenty of pork bribes to key holdouts.

House Passes Historic Health Bill [wsj.com]

The House gave final passage to the Senate's health legislation on a climactic 219-to-212 vote, as Democrats muscled the measure through on the strength of the party's big majority. In the final roll call, no House Republican voted for the bill, and 34 Democrats voted no, many of them representing Republican-leaning districts.

A short while later, the House, voting 220 to 211, approved a companion bill making changes to the Senate bill, a measure necessary to attract support in the House. Those changes now head to the Senate, where action is expected this week. All Republicans voted against the companion bill, as did 33 Democrats.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161193)

Well, it's almost free for Congress, the President and VP, and their aides-- thanks to special subsidy that the Democrats had to have because, otherwise, the GOP would destroy the world economy and kill Grandma.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160743)

It's better than the system in the US where only the wealthy are allowed good health care.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160957)

At least in the US the wealthy - or even the moderately well off - can still get good health care. In the UK, has to pay for crap.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161081)

Having experienced both, I'd argue that in the US, the wealthy and the moderately well off have to pay through the nose for crap, while in the UK, everyone can get something mediocre to good.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161025)

That's bull shit. What they want is a system like Canada and Mexico where it is a single player system. And free government health care ends up not covering many expensive treatments, so only the rich get care.

In the United States, federal law requires hospitals to provide everyone life saving care whether or not you can afford it.

So what Democrats are pushing for would lead to only the rich getting care. Our current system is fucked up and can use reform, but worst case scenario is a bankruptcy, but your life is saved. I'll take that over dying.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161131)

HealthCare gets cheaper like technology so the poor can get and afford healthcare! It expensive because it pays for research for the rich as the poor!

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160761)

No, the one the Democrats are emulating is called "Romneycare", and it's worked quite well.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160771)

I don't believe your ACA(?) is the same as universal health care with a single payer. I would also suspect that design choices will have an impact on long term sustainability. There is no need for exact duplication of systems that may be faltering because of neglect.

Knocking down strawmen arguments do nothing for anyone's cause - no matter one's political position. Is this not what the public rails against, or are you a politician? Do you not see choices to be evaluated? Am I mistaken that any complicated system must be engineered with substantial re-factoring over time? Do you believe the future is written in stone? Do you not see that no matter your position, there is likely grey as the complexity increases.

From those few words you seem so typical, unwilling to consider that the world is complicated and requires thought. You are representative of failure, that I see. You are more depressing than the the fiasco of the last two weeks. It's because you're not alone.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160799)

Keep some perspective. It still costs half as much per person (normalized to GDP/capita). Our medical industry increases its costs faster than inflation too, but when the free market raises prices and another 50k people lose coverage, it isn't news, it's business as usual.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160853)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_%28PPP%29_per_capita

We're paying 2.4x what they are paying. A slight increase in their costs won't change that.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (5, Insightful)

blankinthefill (665181) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160821)

Actually, if you follow international news at all, there has been a strong Conservative/Tory assault on the NHS for several years now. The assault comes in the form of privatization and the introduction of the 'free' market to the health care ecosystem. This system, if anything, is attempting to emulate the system put in place with the ACA, and the right in the UK has made it clear that they would like do what the right in America has been arguing for this whole time in terms of health care. Would the Dems have desired to emulate the original NHS, prior to its evisceration? Yes. Now? Not so much. Here's a bit of light reading on the topic, which is anything but hard to find. (Yes, they do tend to be from more leftwing sources, however, they have good information on what has been done to the NHS recently.) http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11935 [socialistreview.org.uk] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/farewell-to-the-nhs-19482013-a-dear-and-trusted-friend-finally-murdered-by-tory-ideologues-8555503.html [independent.co.uk] http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=676:people-will-die-the-end-of-the-nhs-part-1-the-corporate-assault-&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=69 [medialens.org]

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1, Interesting)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161125)

By "strong Conservative/Tory assault", you mean the horrors of a competitive tender process to try and find the cheapest provider, so you can offer the most efficient service? Or do you mean they've cut funding? Why ever could that be? [google.com] I know, I know, conservatives just hate poor people, and the fact that the UK's debt is now 90% of it's GDP is irrelevant - they should just keep pouring money into the NHS and hope the problem just goes away.

Margaret Thatcher still applies - the problem with socialism is, eventually you run out of other people's money. Well, the UK has run out. Now it's running out of money it can borrow too.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1)

Rougement (975188) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161145)

You're right. This is way more about politics than it is about the state of the NHS. The Tories would sell it off to buy an election if they could get away with it. Worked for Thatcher.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160829)

The UK has a huge problem with immigrants being wholly dependent on social services, in particular health care. It is seen as available for the taking by anybody that needs it, which has led to significant strain.

When a country offers a free service and allows absolutely anybody to use it, even people who aren't contributing to the country financially, there will of course not be enough funding to maintain the service. The intentions are good, the financial reality is unworkable.

The same thing will happen in the US with Obamacare being deployed and immigration reform is on the horizon. Taxpayers will have to bear the burden of funding services both for American citizens and Mexican citizens, just as the UK is trying to fund service for its enormous immigrant population as well as actual tax-paying Britons.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160833)

You do understand that in the UK, you are not forced to use the NHS? You can opt for BUPA or some other private health care like you have in the US. In the UK they have the option, in the US they do not have the option. It cannot be made to look better to have less option.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161103)

You can opt-in to private healthcare, but you can't opt out of the NHS.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160859)

At the moment, they are currently spending almost half (9.6%) of what we do (17.9%) as a percentage of GDP on health care. They can adjust their spending to make up for the gap and still be way more fiscally efficient that the US. Many developed countries are facing a problem of aging populations which will increase health care spending for the next several decades.

Re:Rose-tinted view indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160969)

HAHAHA insightful???

This system has been in place for over half a century and is having funding issues. Well that must mean that any form of universal health care is just pie in the sky!

Working as intended (-1, Troll)

Vladius (2577555) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160691)

This is what happens when you allow modern American Conservatism in on the process. Their goal is probably the same screwed up system we have here (which Obamacare tries to fix but falls short). This is nothing but a bunch of plutocrats profiting off of the suffering of human beings. This was a system that people loved, so what happened? It was intentionally broken.

Oh look, (1, Insightful)

j35ter (895427) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160739)

the US's lap dog emulates its master.
Cameron must have figured out that, if US corporation can make big money out of healthcare, then britfag corps can do the same...and gratefully share some profit with his party...

Rising Costs (1)

jobdrb (920458) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160753)

- People are living more, with free Health System
- Drugs are becoming more expensive with the Free Prices System
Or ask to people die early
Or change the medicines used, some new drugs are expensive and dont offer really advantages, some are also worst then the previous used.

Re:Rising Costs (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161041)

Re Or ask to people die early
The usually tame UK press started to find out about the Liverpool Care Pathway. So the term Liverpool Care Pathway is no longer used.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/15/liverpool-care-pathway-independent-review [theguardian.com]
The UK will have to work with what it has: a cheap pharmaceutical list, citizens only care, hospice early and often.
Redefine old age health care back to the point of handing out free canes for knees/hips or dark glasses for cataracts?
Blood transfusions and cancer treatments just dont work so well with older retired people "new" studies show....say over 50?
You will get good cancer surgery but unless you make an effort to enquire about more treatment options you will be sent home.
If you dont have family or friends in the health care sector to help with treatment questions your surgery and pain meds will be only burden on limited tax payers funds... till the hospice.
Tax "breaks" for "selecting" private life long health insurance. You still get free care but you might opt to use your private care.
Another top tip: - much fewer pathologists or epidemiologists. They tend to find things and tell the world.

Re:Rising Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161099)

What I don't understand is... the liverpool care pathway is incredibly valuable. Were I diagnosed with a terminal illness, I would rather be put on the liverpool care pathway, and led to a (slightly) early death in comfort, compared to a long, drawn out death in pain. I don't understand why people think this is a bad thing.

Re:Rising Costs (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161135)

Please stop calling it a free Health System. It's never been free, it never will be. It is tax payer funded.

Could root cause be the UK's immigration system? (0, Troll)

walterbyrd (182728) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160759)

From what I have heard, UK has been getting a flood of immigrants who want nothing more than to live on the UK's generous welfare system.

The non-productive immigrants are totally draining the system.

Bullshit!!! (4, Interesting)

bayankaran (446245) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161057)

UK has been getting a flood of immigrants who want nothing more than to live on the UK's generous welfare system.

Sensible arguments are can be made from the right - about NHS, immigration and other stuff, but you wrote flaming nonsense.

No economic migrant anywhere in the world is a leech on the host. They are the most hardworking - generally doing the low wage work the locals are not really keen to do. They pay taxes - may be not income tax - but every other tax when they consume products and services.

Who's the famous immigrant bogeyman in UK? The Polish Plumber. Who's he? A plumber. Someone who unclogs the stupid shit you guys excrete.

This is the same all over the world. Mexicans and Central Americans in US, Bangladeshi's in India (before partition - 60 years back - Bangladesh and India was the same country, calling Bangladeshi's illegal immigrants is stretching matters, still India has 1 billion plus population - so at least in the short term the argument 'we do not need extra heads' may make sense), Sub Saharan Africans in Italy who perish in large numbers when their boats capsize and so on.

The countries taking immigrants - willingly or otherwise - have a brighter future. You need headcount. The native population is not going to procreate in the numbers needed to keep your economy growing and humming. US is a prime example. Japan is on a long term decline for precisely the same reason - they are so insular they have a great derogatory word for non Japanese - GAICHIN. Ask yourself - do you want to live in a Japanese society full of inbred Japanese who all look the same? Parsi's in India - otherwise a very sensible community - is in decline for the same reason. They are so insular if a Parsi marries a non Parsi they are kicked out.

What you - and the type like you - also forget is the cultural and social contribution of the immigrants. Diversity and mixing of gene pool is a good idea. It makes your country stronger.

The new slogan should be "make love to someone of your opposite in gene pool, not war."

Re:Could root cause be the UK's immigration system (1)

Severus Snape (2376318) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161121)

From what I have heard, UK has been getting a flood of immigrants who want nothing more than to live on the UK's generous welfare system.

The non-productive immigrants are totally draining the system.

I challenge you to find a source for that, I dare you. No, wait, I double dare you! Ironically, immigrants subsides benefits for the rest of the rest of the UK. http://niesr.ac.uk/blog/migrants-benefits-and-public-services-what-does-new-research-evidence-tell-us [niesr.ac.uk]

Always enough money for wars, but not healthcare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160773)

Always enough money for wars, but not healthcare? Strange that.

Sack 50% of the police and use that money (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160797)

So sack 50% of the police and use that money for the NHS. If they have enough time to lobby for more laws and fake 'pleb' evidence for the Sun Newspaper, then there's too many of them.

It's the most over-policed country in Europe.

Sack 50% of them and use the money you save to save people lives via the NHS.

Re:Sack 50% of the police and use that money (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160947)

sack the police? I lived in England for three years and a whole block away from a police station (New Market). I could count on my fingers and toes how many times I saw the police out on patrol during that time. Either there were a hundred of them hiding in the station "bankrupting" the budget, or there were maybe 4-5 that worked there. Having such a "over strengthed" police force always did wonders for the petty crime and assaults. (No it didn't)

drugs cost more (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160815)

Maybe if those greedy drug companies didn't insist upon 100000% markup on their drugs, health service would be more sustainable.

So from 10% to 12% of GDP? (4, Informative)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160825)

And that's assuming no GDP growth during that time. Actual GDP percentage will probably remain constant or rise only slightly. As a resident of a country (the USA) that spends more like 17% of its GDP on health care for outcomes that are no better (and arguably worse), I still think the UK is getting a great deal. Citations:
http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/02/uk-healthcare-spending-gdp
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.TOTL.ZS
http://shr.sagepub.com/content/2/7/60.long

Re:So from 10% to 12% of GDP? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160965)

They brush aside the differences in obesity-related illness, more costly and more common in the US. Other studies have shown treatment for obesity, heart disease, and so on, given equivalent health status, are better in the US.

Basically, they acknowledge, then largely ignore, things like socioeconomic status, race, and cheeseburger-itis, looking solely at relative improvements in mortality, and comparing that between countries, which makes the study invalid. Why? Because cheeseburger-itis might as well be an anti-health system which is largely absent from other countries, countervailing against positive gains from medicine.

No comparison to ACA (4, Informative)

Severus Snape (2376318) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160839)

The NHS is currently underfunded, just now the government in charge would love to abolish the NHS purely for ideological reasons. Since the global recession, politics in the UK has been fought over the issues of, public spending cuts, cost of living, the welfare state, immigration; the NHS has been shunned to the side and because of this has allowed funding to minimized. A (phony) promise was made by the government back in 2009 to protect NHS spending, an increase in spending was in fact claimed but the truth is polarising.

It's privatisation in the back door, under fund it, make it under perform, all of a sudden privatisation becomes an easy argument to make.

Re:No comparison to ACA (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161173)

I didn't realize the UK was a dictatorship, or that the prime minister assumed the title after a military coup d'état. That's French for -- coup d'état. (Best line of the movie.)

Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160841)


Walk in to any ER room in Canada and you will find it full of Indians. Not "Curry Indians", but "Bannock Indians".

They generally do not work and do not pay taxes. They expect the Government to take care of them from cradle to grave. So rather than get a regular GP like most people, they fill up the emergency rooms when they or their 14 offspring have a runny nose.

Canada's system is holding up surprisingly well given the burden that the red man puts on it.

Re:Canada (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160871)

Uhmm... where do you live?

The only native people I know who don't pay taxes live on a native reserve.

Hm (0)

argStyopa (232550) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160843)

It's almost like you can't continue to give away something valuable for nearly nothing.

Seriously, there are 6? 7? billion people on the planet.
Not every one of them can have a heart transplant if they need one.

Limited things get rationed.
It's been proven time and again that allowing people to ration things electively simply means the people who get to decide, get the things.
What our world has largely decided is that money will be the determining factor. It's sad, as much of what a person earns is due to luck and circumstances beyond their control. Should a baseball player earn 100x what a teacher does simply because he was gifted with some abilities by freak chance of biology?
Nevertheless, it's the fairest system we've got.

In the US, how many times have you thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160867)

"Man, the government does an awesome job running this.. They should take over more things and run them too."

Get ready for healthcare to be run like the DMV.. Obamacare is the worst thing imaginable that could've happened to the US

Re:In the US, how many times have you thought (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160939)

Actually the NHS was actually run pretty well. At least until Thatcher got hold of it, followed by Cameron. WHO ranking puts it significantly higher and cheaper than the US

Re:In the US, how many times have you thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160997)

Obamacare is the worst thing imaginable that could've happened to the US

Really, that's the worst thing you can imagine? Not zombie hordes? Terrorist bombings? Asteroid strike? Time-traveling dinosaurs with lightsabers? Hitler clone army conducting a military uprising?

You must be the dullest fucking person in the universe if you can't imagine something worse happening to the US.

Re:In the US, how many times have you thought (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161217)

well none of those horrible things you mentioned included the number one horror: paying for healthcare of poorer people from his taxes!

nvm that private insurance isn't exactly cheap either and point of that is that you're also paying for healthcare for people who have worse health.. somehow a lot of people think that the private health insurance works like private bank account where you wouldn't pay for healthcare of others...

More signs of strain on NHS (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,13 days | (#45160887)

Re:More signs of strain on NHS (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161085)

True. No mod points today, otherwise you'd get them my truth-telling amigo :)

Re:More signs of strain on NHS (1)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161161)

Gracias compadre, gracias! ;)

What else isn't new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160895)

Socialism doesn't work?
Shazam!

In Canada.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160943)

In Canada, prescriptions are paid for by the Patient (although the 12 major health boards can purchase pharmaceuticals in bulk and pass the savings of massive purchases on to patients --economies of scale kick in hard when purchasing 500 million pills of anything). Also, teeth and eyes are not covered except for serious medical conditions (you pay for your own glasses and cavities). One other thing the NHS has offered that Canada never did is health care for landed immigrants: In Canada you must be a citizen, and depending on your age at becoming a citizen, you will have to pay to get into the plan (If you are 18 when you become a citizen, you may not pay anything, if you are 60, you may have to pay up to $50,000, because young healthy people don't need much health care, and will spend 40 years paying into the program, at 60, you might spend 5 years paying in, and will have health needs not long after. Canada can't afford to pay for health care for the worlds elderly. These are things the NHS can look at.

Re:In Canada.... (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161179)

This isn't entirely true. Here in Nova Scotia, we allow landed immigrants (Permanent Residents is the current phrase du jour) to use the healthcare system. They are, after all, paying into the tax system to fund the healthcare system here. Pretty much the only thing a Permanent Resident can't do is vote.

So what? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160945)

At present, the NHS is still one of the more efficient healthcare systems out there - way more so than the US system, for example.

Healthcare is getting more expensive, and I would imagine that in the next few decades technologies such as synthetic organs will make it even more so. What if every elderly patient wanted a new synthetic heart, lungs, kidneys at a cost of £5,000,000 each? At some point it becomes a logical impossibility to pay for everything that can be done, for everyone. Even now it's not uncommon to find individual patients who've had £2,000,000 spent on their care (small kid with leukaemia) or who needs arthritis drugs at £30,000 pa.

The basic NHS model of prividing medical care is a good one. As a doctor I always ask 'what needs to be done' for my patient. Not 'what can they afford'? I'm frrequently appalled by the unnecessary extra scans etc I see booked in the private system here, or the insurance 'gotchas' (e.g. patient breaks ankle; sent to NHS hospital. Insurance pays for operation in a private hospital but not for the ambulance transfer to it).

The problem with the NHS system isn't that it doesn't work. It's that at present it's being attacked for ideological reasons and that presently we're being forced to do too much with too little. An injection of money would help - and as we spend less than many comparable nations on healthcare it's odd to suggest that this is unaffordable. However at some point we're going to have to accept that we can't do everything for everyone at all times.

Re:So what? (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161227)

At least in the UK you have the option of going private if you so choose. There are single payer systems which don't allow that. And NICE would never approve a synthetic organ if it cost $5m

spon63 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45160995)

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NHS hospital death rates 45% HIGHER than USA. (0)

mc6809e (214243) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161009)

Re:NHS hospital death rates 45% HIGHER than USA. (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161059)

That's pretty misleading. More people die in hospitals in the UK because they can go to the hospitals for free. In the US, they're more likely to die at home, because they can't afford to go to the hospital.

But dead is dead, and the UK's life expectancy is better than America's, while spending less per capita on health care. No amount of spin can change that.

Re:NHS hospital death rates 45% HIGHER than USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45161181)

Also the hospital or other healthcare facility doesn't kick you out so you'll die at home and not mess up their precious statistics.

Re:NHS hospital death rates 45% HIGHER than USA. (1)

mc6809e (214243) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161239)

But dead is dead, and the UK's life expectancy is better than America's, while spending less per capita on health care. No amount of spin can change that.

And if the USA had the NHS it would still have a lower life expectancy.

The lower life expectancy in the US is driven by primarily by three factors: low birth weight leading to death, road traffic accidents and homicide among the young.

There's very little the health care system can do about the last two.

Even the first is somewhat difficult since it is to some extent a function of the genetics of women of African ancestry.

Combining subjects (2)

BlueCoder (223005) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161029)

For the people on the bottom that physically work and produce nothing really changes. All that people really need is food and shelter and in the western world we can afford to eat a lot less. The people at the bottom already live paycheck to paycheck and they know how to do physical work and how to fix things themselves. The people that will be hurt are the infirm that our modern society supports which includes the elderly, chronically sick and cripples. Most of us will someday at some point join the infirm.

This is the scenario after a "worldwide bankruptcy" All the land with all the houses and apartments will still exist. All the farmland that produces all the food that overfeeds our country and the rest for the world will still exist. All the fertilizers, chemicals, and natural resources will still exist. At least two thirds of the people, working to produce and distribute the above, will continue doing what they already do. Many of the poorest people of today live in luxury compared to a hundred and two hundred years ago. What will change is the "rich" will be out on the street sort to speak with their bank accounts decimated. There will be a memorable backlash against lawyers, investment bankers, and politicians that support their rackets and games.

Medical patents will be vacated and health care will go back to being affordable. Doctors will be better protected legally and not need insurance like the do now but will be subject to more public records, reviews and audits. Medicine will go back to being affordable comparable to the 1960. There will be no million dollar procedures unless you have a million dollars. People will die at 85 instead of 90. Doctors pay checks will no longer be quite so big but they will no longer need to support the insurance industry and lawyers. They will become more respectable and esteemed members of society back when children wanted to grow up to be a doctor not because of the paycheck but rather to be a hero of society.

Higher education will become affordable again but no longer be government subsidized.

Political will (5, Insightful)

manu0601 (2221348) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161075)

European countries created socialized healthcare after they had been devastated bu WWII. They had no money for it but they had the political will. Now that they produce more wealth than ever (France GDP gown 700% since 1945, while population only doubled, for instance), European countries have the money but no political will to move it to socialized healthcare instead of shareholders profits.

comparisons (5, Interesting)

jemmyw (624065) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161087)

I've lived in three countries, the UK with a full free health service, New Zealand with a partially free health service, and the US, and I've had contact with all of those health services for myself or my family.

The NHS in the UK is the best all round. You see your doctor, you feel that they care about you, they have the backing of a good hospital system to do anything they need to do. It can be slow to get treatment, but you can always go private if you can afford to do so, but when I had problems they were fast enough.

The system in NZ is the second best. The doctors care, and there is a smaller population so it feels more intimate. However, that smaller population means less in the way of economy of scale, so treatment might not be available or you have to travel further. Pharmac negotiates drugs on a national level so that is good for the tax payer, but maybe not for the individual that requires an esoteric cancer treatment. As with the UK you can always go private if the public system is too slow, and I've had an occasion where that was the case.

I don't really know where to begin with the US system. On the positive side its nice and shiny. Individual people do care and help you out, but it doesn't feel like the system as a whole gives a shit. There is a lot of paperwork (absent from the previous examples). There is an abundance of choice and options. When you are sick (or your kid is sick) you don't want choice or options. I was shocked that the health coverage from my company was only subsidised and I still had to pay on top, and I'm utterly confused by the insurance options and savings whatnots (you put money into an account for health stuff?). It is a complex and scary system, but at least if it turns out I have the wrong coverage I can flee home to sanity.

I hope they keep the NHS free. Adding fees will ruin feel of it. I know what they'll do if they charge fees is they'll create a health card for low income people who can't afford the cost. But it is a needless barrier to treatment, if they do that why not just raise tax?

Re:comparisons (0)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161233)

When you are sick (or your kid is sick) you don't want choice or options.

Yeah, I'll just take the first order of treatment from my doctor and not ask for a second opinion, even if it means lifetime impairment or a high risk of death.
Yeah...no.

Canada is not really single payer. (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161183)

The public system does cover prescriptions, doctor visits, hospital stays and some specialist visits but dental, eye wear prescriptions and more serious surgery require either out of pocket payment or private insurance. Fortunately, my employer has a decent health insurance group plan. Even the public insurance system has a monthly premium if you earn over a certain amount of money which diminishes to zero the lower your income is. I pay the full monthly premium on the pubic provincial insurance plan.

Some cities and towns have severe shortages of doctors. Vancouver is one of those places with a shortage of doctors.

Re:Canada is not really single payer. (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161197)

Oops, prescriptions are not covered by the public system until you go over a certain dollar amount per year or if you are welfare or retired. Before that limit kicks in, you have to pay out of pocket or have private insurance to cover it.

Fire the deadweight. (1)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,13 days | (#45161231)

In the British NHS, bureaucrats outnumber doctors and nurses by a hefty margin.

-jcr

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