While the US federal government expands its diktat power over American health care, the British are looking for ways to rescue themselves from their own government-run system. In an attempt to resolve access and provider issues, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservatives want to begin outsourcing work to private practitioners outside the NHS, a reversal of over six decades of public policy:
Filmmaker Michael Moore glorified the United Kingdom’s National Health Service in his 2007 documentary ”Sicko,” making a cult film argument that socialized medicine works. But Prime Minister David Cameron, the Tory MP who heads a coalition government in England, is apparently not a Moore fan: He is working to partially privatize the NHS, beginning a massive outsourcing of medical services to private health care providers throughout the U.K.
Britain’s media, in particular the Washington Post–Huffington Post hybrid The Guardian, is publishing near-panic-attacks alerts daily about the conservative plan, which comes as the British government scales back on entitlement spending, hoping to avoid a Greek-style financial meltdown. …
Joseph A. Morris, a former Reagan White House lawyer who now serves on the board of the American Conservative Union, told TheDC that socialized medicine has turned out to be a threat to Britons’ health, and to their economy as well.
“Europe’s message to the world is no longer that the socialist dream of the cradle-to-grave welfare state is an easy achievement,” Morris said. “Rather, it is the shouted warning that it is a fool’s paradise. The bills are coming due and the only real alternatives — serious financial reform of government or national bankruptcy — are not pleasant.”
Morris added that the British government, “unlike the Obama administration, is hearing the warnings, identifying its greatest vulnerabilities, and trying to race ahead of the deluge.”
Of course, I’m sure you already know all about Cameron’s plans. The American media has been all over this story. Oh, wait, they haven’t:
Major U.S. media are also ignoring the story. As Cameron’s own health reform bill gathers momentum and heads for a vote in Parliament, online searches show no coverage at all of Britain’s move in The Washington Post or The New York Times.
The British media have been all over this story, however, and not just The Guardian, whose editorial position is not surprisingly very hostile to the notion. More surprisingly, the Times of London suggested that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley should be “taken out and shot” for pushing the bill through Parliament. And the Times of London knows if that happens, the NHS would be available to treat Lansley’s gunshot wound in as little as six weeks, so no worries.
Barack Obama’s 2010 recess-appointment choice to run CMS, the parent of Medicare and Medicaid, was Donald Berwick, whose main qualification appeared to be his enduring love for the British NHS government monopoly. One has to wonder how well this push to open the UK to at least limited privatization is playing in the halls of CMS (which Berwick left last year, after Senate Democrats told Obama he was a no-go for confirmation a second time, too), or the rest of the Obama administration, which has a habit of picking rationing fans for high positions in entitlement programs. It should be noted, though, that even the classic nanny states are giving up on the government-run model as Obama pushes ever harder to take the US in that failed direction.