Different Escalators to and from Sanity
Did you happen to catch this in the New York Times, last week?
Even as the new coalition government [of Great Britain] said it would make enormous cuts in the public sector, it initially promised to leave health care alone. But in one of its most surprising moves so far, it has done the opposite, proposing what would be the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948.
Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.
The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished.
Yes, the move is to doctors, but more importantly, it’s toward patients. In other words, the much lauded National Health Service is decentralizing, even as the ruling class of the United States attempts to push our system in the other direction.
Note, also, the underlying justification for government bureaucracy: the employment of government bureaucrats! One wonders what is given up in the private sector in order for paper pushers to survive on plush government compensation.