Death of Competition in Health Care

by Sal on July 9, 2008

in Politics

For years, Conservatives have been sounding the alarm on the dangers of socialized medicine, pointing to the problems that socialized medicine has brought to Britain, Canada, and more recently, Austrailia.  Back in 2006, the People’s Republic of Massachusetts (of which I am a resident) took the first step towards socialized medicine by mandating full-care health insurance for all citizensBesides spiraling, out-of-control costs and a major headache for all MA residents, the plan further opened the door to government-run health care.  It is also significant, beacuse it is the plan that presidential candidate Barack Obama has based his own national health care plan on. 

Now, the MA state government wants to limit people’s choices and direct competition of services.  Boston is the home of some of the world’s best hospitals (Mass General, Dana Farbor Cancer Instiute, Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Woment’s, etc.)  Most of these hospitals are teaching hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical, Tuffts, Boston University, and other high-quality medical facilities.  These hospitals also have satellite centers in various community hospitals throughout the state, bringing a high quality of care out to the suburbs.  However, currently the care is outpatient-only.  The hospitals want to expand the services and provide overnight care at these community hospitals as well.  It sounds like a great idea — have some of the same programs, the same high-quality doctors, as one can get by going into Boston.  However, this is too much for the administration of Deval Patrick, as it would diminish the role of the community hospital!  The Patrick administration is now planning to regulate so that the teaching hospitals cannot provide “duplication of services” that are available at community hospitals, in order to help contain costs.  This is yet another step into the degredation of our freedoms in choosing our own health care. 

It is a known fact that competition yields better costs and increased quality and innovation.  Yet the Patrick administration wants to curtail an individual’s right to choose medical care that is best for them, and the hosptial’s rights to expand and provide more services.  Obama and Patrick are close friends;  America, be warned — an Obama health care policy will adversely effect the quality of your health care.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

rightonoz July 10, 2008 at 1:53 am

Have to correct you on the Austalia comment.

Socialised medicine has not brought problems to Australia.

On the whole it works quite well and gives everyone access to acceptable levels of care. While nothing is perfect, the vast majority get more than adequate cover. As with any country, from time to time someone is failed by the system, but that happens in both private and public health. Having experienced public health systems in Aus, NZ, the UK and Germany, all of them have been acceptable for non critical matters, and certainly Aus, and Germany have been everything anyone could ask for in critical care.

I have to say, the only times I had concerns were once in the US when I was being returned to Australia from Germany and was offloaded from a flight due to concerns over internal bleeding and was only given essential care after almost 6 hours. That was one close call in a seriously understaffed and underskilled hospital. The other was here in Australia when a private hospital made a monumental blunder. It’s not fun, feeling your heartbeat stopping, and hearing the doctor go ‘uh oh’ then pounding your chest saying ‘come back’. I was so ‘pissed’ at their blunder I made a point of ‘comming back’ just so I could give them an earful.

The problems we do see here in Oz are due to politicians using health as a means to get their state/federal political point scoring, inept management, and medical associations protecting their members from public criticism. The last two happen in public or private.

Of far greater concern is the new government having taken away the incentives for private health insurance, thereby making it far more expensive to insure. The large number of people who will abandon private cover will now add to the waiting lists (non urgent) in public health.

My health insurance costs will increase considerably. Due to my history, I do not want to be reliant on the public system. If I have further problems, I need to know I can get the best of doctors and immediate treatment with the best equipment. If I give up my insurance and a change of government makes it more cost effective to be privately insured again, I would never be able to get new insurance.

That said, last year I had an ambulance admission to the local public hospital. The emergency critical care staff were, though mostly young, extremely proficient. As the local private critical care hospital was full I then spent two days in the public hospital ICU and, while we all would prefer private facilities, found it more than acceptable in a 4 berth room.

I know daughter in London is critical of the long delays there for all but the most urgent, but that’s a function of the POMS (Aussie slang for English)public service worker mentality, not necessarily of the fact it’s public. If their staff had to meet certain levels of performance…

That said, If I don’t have need to stick my nose in, I’m on countdown to 11 days in Vietnam.

I know the US has some history, but they are really ok people.

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