This is England: NHS Edition

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As the music nerds that frequent H&R will be well aware, Tony Wilson, co-founder of Factory Records (New Order, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, etc) and the infamous Hacienda Club, died last week after a long battle with kidney cancer. Like many of the patients featured in Michael Moore's Sicko, Wilson, who claimed to have never made any money in the music business, couldn't convince his insurance provider, Britain's National Health Service, to cover the cost of his prescription drug regimen. From the BBC:

Doctors recommended he take the drug Sutent, after chemotherapy failed to beat the disease.

Members of the Happy Mondays and other acts he has supported over the years have started a fund to help pay for it.

He says his condition has improved and he believes the drug has stopped the cancer in its tracks.

He was turned down by the NHS, while patients being treated alongside him at The Christie Hospital and living just a few miles away in Cheshire are receiving funding for the therapy.


"I've never paid for private healthcare because I'm a socialist. Now I find you can get tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery on the NHS but not the drugs I need to stay alive. It is a scandal."

Wilson, socialist until the end, wrote an effusive letter to the NHS back in February.

In other NHS-is-a-mess news, Scotland's Daily Record reports that NHS patients are "still waiting up to seven months for [cancer] treatment":

Patients are supposed to be treated within 62 days of urgent referral.

But figures out yesterday showed only three areas in Scotland were meeting those targets every time.

In the worst cases, sufferers were kept hanging on for 220 days.

The figures, for the first three months of the year, show 85.4 per cent of patients across Scotland were seen within 62 days.

The target set two years ago is 95 per cent.

Bonus YouTube video of the late, great Ian Curtis.

(Hat tip: Kurt Loder)

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  1. I’ve never paid for private healthcare because I’m a socialist

    Ha ha ha ha ha… Oh right, sorry.

  2. Patients are supposed to be treated within 62 days of urgent referral.

    What?? This is supposed to be some marque of quality? If a doctor finds I have operable cancer today, in all likelihood I’m having surgery in TWO days, not sixty-two!

  3. Post is imcomplete enough to be misleading.

    Sutent is experimental and expensive. Your insurance here (if you have it) likely wouldn’t pay for it either. And a recent court decision has it that you don’t have a RIGHT to experimental treatments. So he likely wouldn’t be better off here.

    He WAS getting the drug, paid for by other citizens. He’s dead anyway — possibly of a heart attack (instead of cancer).

    There is indeed an issue about epxensive experimental treatments, but Reason didn’t couch it that way — it just paints a picture of the Brits NHS not paying for a drug. I’m dissapointed in Reason. Raise the issues, but do it honestly.

    Yoda

  4. Hat tip: Kurt Loder

    Did he send you an e-mail, or were you watching MTV?

    Was Wilson as big of a twat as was portrayed in 24 Hour Party People?

  5. WOMBY VAULTAGE CLINICAL TRIALS!!!!!!!!!

  6. Many of the people included in Sicko were denied coverage for drugs deemed experimental, like the kid refused a second cochlear implant. As the BBC story notes, “Sutent has doubled the life expectancy of some patients in trials.” And yes he was getting the drug, paid for by private citizens. That’s the point…So is the BBC being dishonest? Click on the story and note that nowhere does it mention that Sutent is experimental. Indeed, they note that “patients being treated alongside him at The Christie Hospital and living just a few miles away in Cheshire are receiving funding for the therapy” from the NHS.

  7. “I’ve never paid for private healthcare because I’m a socialist. Now I find you can get tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery on the NHS but not the drugs I need to stay alive. It is a scandal.”

    I don’t know what he’s complaining about. That IS socialism! When Marxist utopianism collides with reality, that is what you get.

  8. Yes, but… socialized medicine if FREE!

  9. Michael

    I said that you we being dishonest, not that NHS was being dishonest. If you didn’t know that Sutent was experimental, you didn’t do enough research — I read it today, and you could have too.

    I don’t know the circumstances about the other patients who did get the drug; I don’t know the circumstances about Wilson really, either, coverage being superficial so far and probably forever.

    If you’re going to treat the subject matter, I think you should go deeper and not just use the first 3 superficial factoids to take a cheap shot.

    I like Reason. I’m dissapointed. I want you to do better.

  10. Maybe the NHS was just getting back at him for releasing Happy Mondays records.

  11. Since Wilson died while taking the drug, why is it an argument against NHS that it refused to pay for his treatment? Moynihan is denouncing NHS for not offering unlimited coverage. Private insurers won’t do that here. If they did, they would go bankrupt.

    This was booted around on Andrew Sullivan’s site. Suppose Wilson was living in the U.S. without insurance. Then he wouldn’t get Sutent because he wasn’t rich. And Michael Moore would make a documentary about how private enterprise killed him.

  12. I’m with squarooticus. 62 days is the target? For an “urgent referral”? If you break your arm or leg do you get one of these urgent referrals? What about regular referrals? Man I can’t wait (sorry) until we get socialized health care in the USSA.

  13. Yoda,
    So am I dishonest (not including information that still doesn’t change my point…which I didn’t know, incidentally, because, as the BBC pointed out, it is drug available to others in the same hospital) or lazy (not doing enough research on a blog post)?

    Cheap shot? Geez, I even linked to Wilson’s paean to the NHS. So is Wilson being dishonest when he is quoted as saying “Now I find you can get tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery on the NHS but not the drugs I need to stay alive. It is a scandal.”

    I’m sorry your “disappointed,” and even more so that I don’t exactly understand why.

  14. why is it an argument against NHS that it refused to pay for his treatment?

    What’s the point of having socialized health care if the insurers behavior is exaclty the same as the non-socialized version? Just the good feelings of paying more?

  15. Again, the flaw with the healthcare “access” argument rears its ugly head: access to what? Two months for urgent care? Ha!

  16. Good thing no one is ever denied the medical care they need in the United States.

  17. MIchael,

    Overall the coverage is superficial, agreed? I’d like to know more details.

    Tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery? I’m probably with him on that (if it’s just regular “face-lift” stuff–different if someone was disfigured in a fire, say).

    It appears that most of the patitents getting Sutent were paying privately, a smaller number were clinical trials, and about 10 were funded by NHS.

    NHS questioned the effectiveness versus the cost. They may have called it wrong. They might change it in the future. But it’s a serious questions. The stuff costs 3500 pounds a month, about $7000. I read that it tend to extend life 5 to 11 months. Certainly the clinicial trials should continue. Also certainly there’s a real issue about when to pay for expensive treatment. Wilson said he felt better. OK. I’m just saying that there’s a bonafide question here. Wilson likely would get the stuff over here either.

    Actually he WAS getting it.

    NHS didn’t kill him, and a quick read of your article makes it sound like they did, and that’s my gripe.

    Yoda

  18. So, is everyone from the British 80s post-punk scene a socialist? Of course. Supporting free private markets would be like, Thatcher, man!

    You don’t wanna be like Thatcher, do you?

  19. At least Tony Wilson had the choice of going to a private insurer, unlike Canadians, who are only allowed to use the government insurance. [Unless they are wealthy enough to go to the US and pay for their own care.]

  20. I have always found the socialist tendencies of supposed “punk” rockers to be fucking hilarious. Considering that punk was supposed to be anarchistic, you’d think that they’d be anarcho-libertarians or something. But instead, many of them are the exact opposite–they are lovers of the state, big government, and therefore authority.

    This is one of the reasons why I never took punk–which I like as music–seriously.

  21. of, course punk is liberal!! you guys don’t remember that ramones song about socialized medicine? oh, wait….

  22. The only good Socialist is a dead Socialist. Perhaps I could sell the Brits on a new advertising campaign.

    NHS and Socialized Medicine: Making good Socialists since 1948.

  23. Jimminy Chrissmas, can we stop it with the “look nationalized or single payer health care plans have to turn down care” stories. DUH. Every concievable health care system will turn down something. The question is comparative: which system (private vs. single payer or nationalized) would turn down more treatments, and of those treatments which are the most needed (what will be the criteria that determines the turn down). Let’s all be grown up and realize this issue is not an easy one. I mean, we have a humongous amount of folks in our “blessed” system which have little or no coverage period, so they will effectively be turned down for just about everything.

  24. From where I’m sitting, the post’s point isn’t that x amount of American citizens are without medical insurance. This nugget is repeated as a matra on a daily basis the world over, usually said in conjunction with how wonderful socialized medicine is. So I don’t get the whole “But, All Americans Don’t Have Coverage!” retort.

    And even if said socialized medicine has its conceivably good points, the idea that public money is being allocated to face lists and tummy tucks, as opposed to medicine (regardless of what experimental stage it’s in), illustrates one of the common concerns with this system.

  25. 62 days? I was diagnosed with cancer on April 2, 2003 and I was in surgery April 4, 2003. I have had eight surgeries in total and have never had to wait more than a week to be seen. I have seen patients who would have been dead within 62 days. For christ sake, by 7 months their bones would have been dust. Please explain to me why socialized medicine is so great. As a judge in Canada so eloquently stated: “Access to a waiting list is not access to care”.

    As for access to care for life-threatening situations for those with little cash, most states hospitals are compelled by law to provide the necessary life-saving care, regardless of ability to pay. So please spare us the “blessed system” sarcastic crap.

    “This was booted around on Andrew Sullivan’s site. Suppose Wilson was living in the U.S. without insurance. Then he wouldn’t get Sutent because he wasn’t rich. And Michael Moore would make a documentary about how private enterprise killed him”

    I am glad this was discussed on Sullivan’s site, instead of a site hosted by someone prone to hysteria and fits of intellectual inconsistency. Oh wait…
    For drugs this expensive, many, if not most, drug companies themselves offer programs that provide drastically reduced prices or even free drugs to individuals who do not have insurance and cannot afford them.

    Of course, if we lived in Cuba we wouldn’t have any problems at all. How do I know? Because the Castro regime says so. Isn’t that right joe?

    “Good thing no one is ever denied the medical care they need in the United States.”

    Nobody said they weren’t. But then again, those partial to the US system aren’t making grossly misleading documentaries in which they serve as propaganda tools for a brutal, mass-murdering dictator either. Thankfully most Americans aren’t stupid enough to swallow whole the propaganda put out by an oppressive communist regime; you were in the minority joe.

    It’s amazing that the individuals who yell the loudest about how awful the U.S system is are proposing a replacement system that is even worse. And it is hilarious and pathetic that they would even try to use Cuba to bolster their argument. As your past posts comparing the American healthcare system to various socialized systems have shown, your ignorance of both joe is so breathtaking it makes your pronouncements on the subject less than useless.

  26. “As for access to care for life-threatening situations for those with little cash, most states hospitals are compelled by law to provide the necessary life-saving care, regardless of ability to pay. So please spare us the “blessed system” sarcastic crap.” So do you support these laws Chavez? Because I always think it funny when hard core libs rail against the state’s coercion and involvement in health care, and then you point out that since so many folks have no coverage they are just sol, and they often say “but Medicaid (or some law) covers them.” Of course our whole point is that government coercion or $ should step in, but this kinda goes against the whole libertarian argument, eh? Kind of like “The private system is great, and hey sure it has these humongous gaps, but that’s what government does!”

    “From where I’m sitting, the post’s point isn’t that x amount of American citizens are without medical insurance.” One of the greatest concerns from critics of our system is that it leaves a huge chunk of people with no coverage. None. And if you think about it that is inherent in a market system (lots of people don’t have houses in our housing market, and that’ll always be the case in our lifetime). So yeah, we think it’s funny when private system defenders point out that nationalized systems “ration” or turn down stuff. Our insurance systems do it too of course (both have to). But then we have this whole chunk who get turned down on absolutely everything. Again though, free-marketeers usually realize a private system will leave many people unprotected so they remarkably then suddenly advocate some two tiered system where the government fills the crappy gaps in our “blessed” system…
    The private system is the best, except for all the parts where it sucks and of course we’ll keep government around for that…That’s just bizarre.

    Now I criticize what I see as the more juvenile critiques of nationalized care, but I’m certainly not sold on it. There are multiple indicators of a health system and we do quite well on some of these…Also, I have a good job and fat insurance, and any nationalized system may make that worse, and I’d oppose it (hey, we’re supposed to be self-interested). But I’m big enough to admit that for society overall our system has some serious flaws…

  27. Good thing no one is ever denied the medical care they need in the United States.

    You are missing the point joe… Socialized medicine is sold as a system where no-one will be denied coverage, because health care is “universal”. We are told that everyone gets healthcare when they need it under socialized medicine.

    If people are going without medical care under socialized medicine, if people are forced to pay for their own treatment because the government will not give it to them, what is the point? Why have socialized medicine if people aren’t going to get the treatment they need, either way.

    Unless they are wealthy enough to go to the US and pay for their own care.

    I know Canadians who weren’t wealthy enough to afford private care, come to the U.S. for treatment… They got the treatment that Canada’s “universal” healthcare system refused to give them, for free in the United States (courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer of course!).

  28. “So do you support these laws Chavez? Because I always think it funny when hard core libs rail against the state’s coercion and involvement in health care, and then you point out that since so many folks have no coverage they are just sol, and they often say “but Medicaid (or some law) covers them.” Of course our whole point is that government coercion or $ should step in, but this kinda goes against the whole libertarian argument, eh? Kind of like “The private system is great, and hey sure it has these humongous gaps, but that’s what government does!”

    I have never written that government should have absolutely no role whatsoever in health care. Nor have I ever said that the health care system of the United States is not flawed. No system is perfect. What I do object to is the ridiculous notion that socialized medicine is the answer. The systems in place in England and Canada are absolutely abysmal. Do you really want to export that here? If access is such a huge problem, why do you advocate a system where people have to wait months and months for even the most rudimentary care? For christ sake, the average wait in Canada for basic diagnostic testing such as MRIs is over a month; in many cases that wait alone would be lethal. Individuals who bash our system and then claim socialism is the panacea for all that ails us have, frankly, zero credibility. Jesus, do you people who advocate socialism, be it socialized medicine or anything else, not have any knowledge of 20th century history? Or maybe you lived in the Bizarro world where socialism was actually a success. How many stories of huge wait lists, filthy hospitals, lack of basic medical necessities etc., do you have to read before you finally say to yourself: “Gee, socialized medicine might not be the answer.”

    What is even more obnoxious is how socialized medicine’s cheerleaders actually claim that a hell-hole like Cuba has better care than the United States. It is absolutely irrefutable that the hospitals for the natives lack even the most basic of necessities including aspirin and clean bed sheets, yet we are told ad nauseum how great they have it there. Apparently Castro took enough time out from his busy schedule of torturing people and imprisoning the entire nation to build, according to idiots in this country, the best hospitals in this hemisphere. The fans of socialized medicine would be wise to stop citing Cuba as some sort of success story if they wish to have any credibility at all.

    As I said before, the Unites States is not perfect as far as healthcare goes, but when it comes to certain aspects of healthcare, it is by far the best in the world. The American healthcare system leads the world in important medical research and innovation. Call me crazy, but socialism is not exactly known for fostering innovations in anything except perhaps its unique ways of duping morons into believing they are getting something for free when they are actually paying taxes out the ass for it. Obviously I would prefer it if health care were cheaper, but government meddling has only increased the cost, not decreased it. Do I wish everyone had access to health care? Again the answer is yes. But as this story and 100’s of others have proved, socialized medicine does not provide that access and it would be a detriment to the things that our system does do well.

    We would be wise to look for ways other than socialized medicine to solve the problems in our health care system. One would have thought individuals who frequent a libertarian message board would not have to be told this over and over again.

    By the way, do not call me Chavez.

  29. Please see the movie “The Barbarian Invasions” for a critique of Canadian socialized medicine (with a great sense of dark humour). Also do a google search for “King Drew Hospital” and read about the recently closed Los Angeles hospital that was the the model of govt run care.

  30. That the socialized systems in Canada and England are “absolutely abysmal” compared to ours is a hard thing to show. You argue they are abysmal because of wait times for certain procedures, yet the proponent of these systems can just as easily cite the millions under our system with absolutely no insurance who must not only wait but who feel they cannot get many procedures as well (such as emergency care). Yes, it’s dangerous to make a person wait a month for their MRI; it’s also bad to tell someone they can only have their finger re-attached for $60,000 or worse yet that certain preventative care is too cost prohibitive.
    I’m equally unsure as to how government meddling in health care can be shown to increase overall costs since our system has comparitively the least government meddling but some of the highest costs.
    To add Rhino’s comments to yours anti-Chavez, to say those of us who are interested in nationalized health care think that people will get “coverage” for everything is not true. We realize that no system will “cover” everything. What we mean (or I should say they mean, I’m nost sold on nationalized care as I pointed out above) is that every person will have some “system” of coverage, some plan that will cover some things for all (like getting your finger re-attached or heart attacks) but of course not everything (like experimental cancer drugs). Currently our system does not offer even that to a huge chunk of people, except for governmental programs and coercive laws. Thank God for these programs and laws since without them the uninsured would be incredibly bad off.

  31. BTW-the Cuba comparisons are a rhetorical device Moore et al. use meant to embarrass the hell out of our system. It’s supposed to be counted on that we realize Cuba is a third world shit-hole: the idea is that if this third world shit-hole can provide everyone with certain basic care then surely we can to. Moore is a fool in his inability or unwillingness to call Castro on the carpet for being a ruthless and inefficient despot. But his point is supposed to be to say “if Cuba can guarantee certain basic care to all, then surely we can too.” Of course for us other wealthier nations would be the comparison model (Britian, Canada, France). It’s interesting that in these nations the people are of course free to vote out their health systems but no serious candidate advocates abolishment of them (tweaking yes, but abolishment no). They must not be that abysmal.

  32. There is a punk band (or maybe you would consider it more of a new-wave kinda band…whatever) that was pro-capitalism – Oingo Boingo had a pro capitalism song back in the day. But they’re from the US, so maybe that makes a difference.

    And who was the one dissing the Mondays? They were great. Gotta love the beginning of the rave scene in the UK back in the early 90’s – so much fun and creativity that is still being carried on to this day.

    On topic – one of my friends says that no one should have to bleed to death because they don’t have health coverage, and I would like to know if there are any actual cases of someone not being given emergency care in such a case, with or without insurance. This friend was once a libertarian who has now, for some reason, slid waaaay over to the socialist side of things.

    Anyway, sorry to hear about his troubles and (now) death. A shame, regardless of all the finer points.

  33. Mr. Nice Guy,
    “Moore is a fool in his inability or unwillingness to call Castro on the carpet for being a ruthless and inefficient despot.”

    If someone is going to insist on being a ruthless despot I would rather that person be inefficient at it.

    “It’s interesting that in these nations the people are of course free to vote out their health systems but no serious candidate advocates abolishment of them (tweaking yes, but abolishment no). They must not be that abysmal.”

    Just because something is popular does not mean that it is not abysmal. Many things have been popular in the past i.e. slavery, kicking Cherokee off their land, and various unjust wars. Their popularity at various times did not make them less than abysmal.

  34. Mr. Nice Guy,
    “You argue they are abysmal because of wait times for certain procedures, yet the proponent of these systems can just as easily cite the millions under our system with absolutely no insurance who must not only wait but who feel they cannot get many procedures as well (such as emergency care).”

    A libertarian does not see this as a choice between “The U.S. system or socialism.” The U.S. system ALSO has its problems. Problems that are caused by government regulations and the red tape created by these regulations. There are also problems caused by frivolous lawsuits that are often the result of a socialist mindset “He can afford it, he is a rich doctor.” I do not know where you live but we in the U.S. do not have a true free market system. If we did there would not be so many people who cannot afford health care. It would be far less expensive, far higher in quality and far more efficient.

  35. co-founder of Factory Records (New Order, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, etc)

    Who?

    claimed to have never made any money in the music business

    Oh. Never mind.

  36. Should I be so surprised to see so many un-Reason-able comments under this banner?

    The fundamental question in organized society is “Should any product or service be provided at the point of a gun?”

    Mr. Wilson claims to be a socialist. Ergo, he ‘feels’ it is okay to stick an AK-47 in all your backs to provide any product or service that the “killers, thieves and liars” in charge “feel” are in some “unnamed public’s undefined good”. As long as he doesn’t personally have to do the “wet work”.

    He was hoping ‘his medicine’ was part of that so called ‘public good’ instead of his neighbors. Starnesville, anyone?

    He ignored the true nature of the state. He believed the answer to the first question was “yes”. He just received the death penalty for his IDEAS!

    For more on the nature of government, visit my buddies over at AdventuresinLegalLand.com. Click the Audio tab and listen to the first hour of the oldest show.

  37. “I do not know where you live but we in the U.S. do not have a true free market system. If we did there would not be so many people who cannot afford health care. It would be far less expensive, far higher in quality and far more efficient.”
    Of course you realize this is the exact same argument that Marxists made and make: communism would have worked if only we ever had a really “true” communist system. All the imprefections were due to the fact that we never really tried it, or due to the small capitalist (they would say ‘bougeoise’) elements that remained in place. That’s bullcrap when both sides pull it. You need to explain why the US has one of the most expensive and inefficient systems (especially relative to outcomes) when it has the LEAST amount of government interference. You have two models, one with comparitevely less government interference, one with more. The former has more problems than the latter. To then blame the former’s problems on the respectively lesser amount of government interference is truly a feat of mental gymnastics (tumble, flip, roll, plant, and yes, I’m still a pure libertarian!).
    The tort law you complain of was of course developed by fairly conservative common law principles that evolved in classic Hayekian- described fashion and are based on the whole idea of very limited responsibility FOR others (if I drive by and see you choking and could have stopped and helped I owe you no duty under common law) but personal responsibility when you INVADE the rights of others. When doctors enter into contract with you and hold themselves out as professionals they are under a duty to exercise reasonable care in providing that service and are rightly liable when they are negligent under that duty. Of course the AMA and other $ interests feed horror stories to libertarian and other “market” proponents as if tort law was something bad for markets (see Russia for a market with weak judicial enforcement of tort and contract law). And you buy these people’s speical interest pleadings as if being a libertarian entails believing in such nonsense. Just because they bankroll your think tanks doesn’t mean they are libertarians…

  38. Mr. Nice Guy,

    “You need to explain why the US has one of the most expensive and inefficient systems (especially relative to outcomes) when it has the LEAST amount of government interference. You have two models, one with comparatively less government interference, one with more. The former has more problems than the latter.”

    For the same reason that “privatizing” what is essentially a government service often is. What we have is a chimera of government regulations and bureaucracy and an organization of mostly “private” businesses that work within that system. There are laws that require someone to be treated even if that person cannot pay, even if that person is an “illegal immigrant” by government standards.

    If you have a desire to hear a litany of complaints ask a physician how well Medicare and Medicaid have treated them. These are government programs with their own bureaucracy that are trying to work within this private / public chimera we call the U.S. Health Care system.

  39. As for access to care for life-threatening situations for those with little cash, most states hospitals are compelled by law to provide the necessary life-saving care, regardless of ability to pay.

    When you finally start bleeding from the anus because you couldn’t get that thing checked out, the hospital will be required to spend an absurd amount of money on late-stage treatment with a low probability of success.

    Gee, what could anyone possibly be worried about? Don’t you know that a public system of insurance would be inefficient?!?

  40. Mr. Nice Guy,

    “The tort law you complain of . . . ”

    I am not complaining of the tort law itself. I am complaining of the socialist mindset that leads to its abuse both by greedy or envious patients of physicians / nurses who did all that was humanly possible to help them and stupid or envious juries that either want to “Soak it to the rich” or are swayed by others who do.

  41. Joe,

    “Gee, what could anyone possibly be worried about? Don’t you know that a public system of insurance would be inefficient?!?”

    Yes it would be and so is the chimera system we have now.

  42. You are missing the point joe… Socialized medicine is sold as a system where no-one will be denied coverage, because health care is “universal”.

    Rex, if you can find a single person who has ever said that universal health coverage means that no procedures will ever be denied, I’ll buy you lunch.

    BTW, the reason Chavez and Rex talk so much about the Canadian/British/Cuban system of nationalized health care is because the systems that offer something similar to the univeral coverage system American liberals propose rank so much higher than ours.

    Of course, people who can’t discern the difference between the issue of access and the issue of quality – I’m looking at you, Chavez – can’t be expected to discern the difference between the nationalization of health care and a universal insurance system.

  43. Plant Immigration Rights Supporter,

    What is that, anyone? Someone in favor of backpackers brings in trashbags of weed from Mexico?

    Once upon a time, western democracies like ourselves and England did have what you call “free markets” in health care.

    The results were so abyssmal that they ran screaming from them.

  44. Yawn. Thieves sticking AK47s in people’s backs. You know, the collection of taxes in exactly the same manner as those used to fund libertarian-approved programs like the Army, the police, and the courts.

    People who have a passionate belief that something should not be done can’t be trusted to make honest evaluations of whether it can be.

  45. I’ve never paid for private healthcare because I’m a socialist

    Live by the… die by the…

    joe:

    Good thing no one is ever denied the medical care they need in the United States.

    Joe, let’s return to our “access” discussion. It’s the National Health Service. Read: No one gets denied. The National Health Service was described by Nigel Lawson as “the national religion.”

    Now, every single person has access to quality health care that is financed through progressive taxation, that is, from each according to his ability to pay, to each according to his needs as a patient.

    Ah, the NHS. 100% guaranteed access, joe. But as I said before, they’re giving you access to something that doesn’t exist. The United States doesn’t guarantee 100% access to healthcare, yet healthcare is more accessible.

  46. Joe,

    If by abysmal you mean “less technologically advanced” you are right. We knew less about medical science. But automobiles and architecture and aircraft were as well. The answer to technological development is not to stick a gun in people’s ribs and threaten to put them in a cage if they do not follow rules set down by people who won a popularity contest.

  47. Paul,

    It’s the National Health Service. Read: No one gets denied.

    Holy unsupportable leap, Batman! Or rather, wholly-unsupportable leap in logic.

    Did it ever occur to you that the treatment this man was denied by the NHS is the same one he received from his friends, and didn’t work?

    The guy had access. He just wan’t given useless treatments. He was given access to quality health care; he just wasn’t given access to useless health care. Not quite the same thing as a pregnant woman being denied prenatal care because she had a pre-existing yeast infection, is it?

    You can keep making the naked assertion that Americans have better access to health care than anyone else. Actual data-backed studies of the issue prove you wrong.

  48. PIRS,

    If by abysmal you mean “less technologically advanced” you are right. Nope.

    Please, try to actually respond to what I write if you’re going to call me out by name.

    The western world didn’t adopt programs – Medicaid in the US, NHS in Britain, and all the rest – to spur technological development. They adopted them because too many people could not afford to receive even the then-current level of care.

  49. Joe,

    I was responding to what you wrote. It just was not specific.

    “They adopted them [Medicaid in the US, NHS in Britain etc.]because too many people could not afford to receive even the then-current level of care.”

    Whenever you make a value judgment such as “too many” or “too much” or “too expensive” an important question to ask is “compared to what?” if the “what” is a real existing, working model this judgment can be useful. Otherwise, it can not serve as a justification for sticking a gun in someone’s face and forcing them to follow the whims of people who won popularity contests. For example, I could claim “The result of these programs is that, in the UK too many people have to wait too long (some of whom die) and in the US it is too bureaucratic and expensive.” Of course if I did this you would have a perfect right to come back with “Compared to what?” What I can say is that some of the very problems those who advocate socialized medicine in the United States complain about are caused by the very government they would trust to run our health system.

  50. PIRS-Look, France, Canada, England have much more government intervention than we do in our health care system. Yes we have extensive public intertwinement (which as joe correctly points out was chosen by voters because of the private systems obvious failures to many citizens), but LESS so than those nation above. Now, are you claiming that our problems, which you seem to admit to (that we have some), are caused by our relatively low level of government intervention? Then by reason shouldn’t France et al have these problems to a higher degree, since they have more of the variable that is the cause of the problem? Or is it the mixed nature that causes the problem? If that is what you think then a complete nationalized system should be prefereable to the mixed one we have now, right (though I guess you would argue not as good as a complete private one)?

  51. Mr. Nice Guy,

    “Then by reason shouldn’t France et al have these problems to a higher degree.”

    They have a different set of problems to a higher degree.

  52. > “At least Tony Wilson had the choice of going to a private insurer, unlike Canadians, who are only allowed to use the government insurance. [Unless they are wealthy enough to go to the US and pay for their own care.]”

    Even if I have some major misgivings about a publicly-funded system, I somewhat understand the opposing side’s underlying premise of covering everyone. But what really bothers me are the ultra-lefties who want the parallel private choice banned as well.

    If I’m following the law and paying into the public system (via taxation), there’s no excuse why I shouldn’t be able to use my own ‘leftover money’ to buy supplemental private care, if I want it. But I guess that would ruin the “equality utopia”.

  53. PIRS-so the problems we have with the uninsured here (who are covered in emergencies under government programs), these are problems that France et al don’t have, right? And they don’t have it because of government intervention, right (universal coverage)? So forgive us those who see some pluses to their system and conclude that some more government and less private would help us with that particular problem.
    I’ll agree that this solution may make some other face of our health care system worse off in some way, in fact that is why I’m on the fence about it.
    But it’s goofy to think that our uninsured problem would be fixed by less government, or is the result of our current low levels (comparitively) of government intervention, considering that nations with more extensive intervention don’t have that problem.

  54. “When you finally start bleeding from the anus because you couldn’t get that thing checked out, the hospital will be required to spend an absurd amount of money on late-stage treatment with a low probability of success.

    Gee, what could anyone possibly be worried about? Don’t you know that a public system of insurance would be inefficient?!?”

    Yeah, because as the above story makes clear, it is 100% efficient with no wait lists at all.
    If history has proved anything it is that huge bureaucracies are the very epitome of efficiency, totally void of corruption. Or maybe you are actually stupid enough to argue that universal health insurance would not require a huge state apparatus to administer.

    Joe, why the fuck do you continue to argue about health care access issues? I had an argument with you about a month ago and you made so many false statements it was mind-boggling and pitiful. You continue to do so. Remember when you told me that my DMD and MD didn’t mean anything because you had a masters degree, you little twit? You are once again wrong about the rendering of emergency care in life-threatening or non-life threatening situations. Forget about bleeding from the anus, because when you are dead owing to a seven month wait, your anus will become terminally irrelevant.

    “can’t be expected to discern the difference between the nationalization of health care and a universal insurance system.”
    Actually, I can discern quite well. That is why I criticize nationalization of health care in an article about England. What I find quite amazing at this point is that anyone takes anything you have to say seriously on this issue. Whether it be your ridiculous pronouncements concerning the superiority of the Cuban healthcare system or your prior erroneous statements concerning access to emergency care in this country or your reliance on extremely flawed surveys that claim to rank healthcare quality, you have next to no credibility on the subject.

    “Actual data-backed studies of the issue prove you wrong”

    Why don’t you cite them for us then. You will probably cite the WHO survey and once again the people on this board will have to smack you down because that survey and all the others place entirely too much emphasis on factors that are outside the realm of the healthcare system. Any survey that can claim Canada has minimal waiting periods is simply not serious.

  55. But it’s goofy to think that our uninsured problem would be fixed by less government, or is the result of our current low levels (comparitively) of government intervention, considering that nations with more extensive intervention don’t have that problem.

    Why is the number of uninsured cited as the be-all end-all of healthcare quality by some on this board? Quite a few of the individuals in this country choose not to have insurance because they do not want to pay for it, even though they could easily afford it. As a million freakin people have pointed out on these boards, lack of insurance does not mean you do not receive medical care.

    If the numbers of uninsured in this country are to believed, 260 million people in this country are insured. That is five times the entire population of England. Please do not try to claim with a straight face that nationalizing a health care system that huge or even providing insurance to those 45 million people would not result in catastrophic wait lists. Wait lists do not equal access. The fans of socialized medicine in this country do not seem to want to accept that fact.

    Furthermore, the bureaucracies necassary to run such a system would be rife with corruption and political favoritism. If you think our tax system is overly complicated because of pandering politicians, I would hate to see the havoc those idiots in Washington could wreak with our health care system, if given more power. For god sake’s, how much “ink” has been spilled on these boards, by people of all political persuasions, concerning how generally horrible our politicians are. Do you really want to give those idiots more control over something so important as healthcare? I sure as hell don’t.

  56. The 1st paragraph in the above post of mine should be enclosed in quotation marks, as it is a direct quotation of someone else’s recent post.

  57. Was Wilson as big of a twat as was portrayed in 24 Hour Party People?

    Probably not. I liked that movie and thought it actually offered some angles of sympathy towards him. But the movie needed to make him into a one-dimensional dick to make it the funny movie it was.

  58. Plant Immigration Rights Supporter,

    if the “what” is a real existing, working model this judgment can be useful. Otherwise, it can not serve as a justification for sticking a gun in someone’s face and forcing them to follow the whims of people who won popularity contests.

    Your purple prose aside – I’ve been paying taxes all my life, never had a gun stuck in my face – SAYS WHO? You?

    So what? You didn’t win any elections. Democracy is the worst system in the world, except for all the others.

  59. You’re right, Chavez-lover. I should stop arguing with you about health care. You’re utterly incapable of understanding and considering the actual points I make, and constantly pointing out that you’re making arguments up and assigning them so me so you might have a chance of holding your own has grown tiresome.

  60. Joe,

    What I see as the great irony of democratic socialism (i.e. a democracy with socialized medicine) is that if enough people care about an issue that polititians sit up and listen and do something about it you don’t need the government to do it anyway. If people who care about medical care for the poor donate money to political campaigns, protest in front of the capital building(s), distribute bumper stickers, go door to door with perticians and vote in popularity contests why could they not put all of that time, energy andmoney into actually doing something about it themselves? Why do they need to authorize people who won popularity contests to stick guns in peoples faces????

  61. Joe,

    “Your purple prose aside – I’ve been paying taxes all my life, never had a gun stuck in my face – SAYS WHO? You?”

    I thought you would understand this but it is a metaphore.

    “So what? You didn’t win any elections. Democracy is the worst system in the world, except for all the others.”

    Really? Tell me. Do you follow the democratic model for most things in your life? Do you poll your neighbours to decide where to go for dinner? Do you hold a straw poll to decide whom you should date? If you get married and still deeply love your spouse after four years, do you then hold an election consisting of your neighbors to decide if you should stick with him / her after another four years?

    Democracy may be the best POLITICAL system but it is not the best way of deciding how to run any aspect of your life.

  62. It’s a lame methphor, and a cheesy attempt to seize the rhetorical highground.

    And the government’s policy towards health care is not a part of my private life, but of public policy.

  63. What happens if I refuse to pay my taxes? Some people in costumes with guns will throw me in a car and take me to a cage. What happens if I don’t like what these people in costumes are doing and resist? The more I resist the more force they will use and eventually they will shoot me, they will kill me. What happens if I somehow escape from the cage they put me in? They will call me a fugitive and come after me with guns. The more I resist, the more force they will use. If I resist enough they are willing to kill me.

    Now, does this make it more clear why I call this sticking a gun in your face? They are.

    You say your health is not part of your private life? This is very strange. I consider the inner workings of my body to be very private, very personal. How much more “personal” can you get? A physician is usually the only person besides a spouse or lover who gets to see any part of your body just by asking.

  64. A libertarian government would equally throw you in prison if you refused to pay the taxes that funded the military and courts. So what?

    I never misunderstood why you deploy that lame metaphor, just pointed out how lame it is.

    Do courts, the military, and police become immoral because taxes are involuntary?

    You say your health is not part of your private life?

    Nope, I didn’t. Why don’t you take another crack at what I wrote, and see if you can figure out what I actually said was not a part of my private life.

    I’ll give you a hint: it’s the seven words that appear immediately before “is not a part of my private life.”

    You’re really trying to drive home how determined you are to battle straw men, aren’t you?

  65. I did not say I supported any form of government, “libertarian” or otherwise.

    Why is it “lame” to point out the method of enforcement of government laws? It is the gun at the end of the arm of someone wearing a costume.

    If the government has a “policy towards health care”, the government is involved in your health. If you are skeptical about trusting the government with your phone records you should be doubly skeptical about trusting the government with your health records. If the person holding a scalpel over your chest works for the government, the politicians have your life in their hands. I do not want to give that much power to politicians.

  66. OK, PIRS, if you are a principles anarchist, then I take it back.

    Too often, I see this “point of a gun,” “taxation is theft” nonsense put out by libertarians, who aren’t even the slightest bit shy about collecting taxes (coercively! With FORCE!! At GUNPOINT!!!) to fund those government actions they support, but pretend to be aghast at the thought of exactly the same methods of tax collection when the government carries out a program they personally disagree with.

    BTW, I don’t believe in making health-care-providers civil servants, like in Britain. We’ve seen the shortcomings of that system. I support something more similar to the French system, where the providers are private but the insurance is publicly funded.

  67. Because there is so much overlap, many anarco-capitalists do not mind working with libertarians, even within the L.P. if they believe doing so will ultimately either increase overall liberty or prevent / slow the overall reduction in liberty. Likewise, most libertarians I have met, even non-anarchists do not mind the help. Also, many anarco-capitalists (including myself) started out as non-anarchist-libertarians. One odd result of this is that very often we adopt one another’s arguments and ideas for increasing liberty. Sometimes it works very well, other times not-so-much.

  68. “I support something more similar to the French system, where the providers are private but the insurance is publicly funded.”

    I have not studied the French system, perhaps I should, but it sounds very much like what some sundry conservatives try to do when they “privatize” what is essentially a government service. This causes its own kinds of problems. Bribery, kickbacks, no-bi-contracts and the kind of scandals you see at Walter Reid Medical Center. I am a strong supporter of free market health care but at least with a complete government operated system you would have a kind of accountability that does not exist in a chimera system.

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