Friday, August 14, 2009

Daniel Hannan talks truth of NHS

Yes, Daniel Hannan is most well known as a Conservative MEP who attacked Gordon Brown in the European Parliament.

However, David Cameron isn't very happy with him now, because he has been telling the truth about the most centralised (and possibly most socialist) state run health system in the developed world - the NHS.

Daniel said that the US should not copy the NHS. He said so on TV and on his Daily Telegraph blog. Quite rightly he pointed out that those claiming it is the greatest British invention are forgetting the abolition of slavery, common law, penicillin and discovering DNA among other things. In short, they are idiots.

He notes that cancer survival rates in the UK are lower than in many developed countries including the US. Think tank "progressive vision" notes that Singapore spends only 4% of GDP on healthcare, but has better life expectancy and infant mortality stats than the UK - partly no doubt due to diet, but it has a private insurance based system.

He concluded by saying:

Imagine that, in 1945, we had created a National Food Service. Suppose that, in the name of “fairness” and “need and not ability to pay”, sustenance had been rationed by the state. Conjecture that every citizen had been allocated one butcher, one baker, one café and so on. We all know where that would have led: to bureaucracy, to duplication, to surpluses in one field and scarcity in another, to racketeering, to hunger.

Exactly. However, David Cameron hasn't the intellectual fortitude or the courage to handle this debate - for he knows Labour will use the old lying incandations that the NHS is sacred, and that any alternative means people dying in the streets without healthcare (apparently better to die of infections in substandard hospitals).

He said "The fact that in this country you can go to a hospital, you can go to a family doctor, and they do not ask you how much money is in your bank account ... is one of our great national institutions".

Such complete nonsense. Why not go to the supermarket and the same? Why not a landlord? Food and shelter are more important than healthcare after all. Besides, the money does come from somewhere - your taxes, by force, with no accountability.

The NHS IS a disaster, it is extraordinarily wasteful, it treats patients as production line items, and doesn't deliver the sort of results it promises, and is too big, too impersonal and full of rent-seekers who know that if they don't get what they want, they can frighten the public (and politicians) to give them more. It is time that UK public discourse started being honest about the NHS, that the socialist lying about how "great" it is be confronted, that the lies about the US system be confronted (it doesn't kick accident victims on the street if people arrive in ambulances without the means to pay) and some honest debate about healthcare occurs.

You see, without it, UK taxpayers will continue to be lumbered by ever growing costs, ever stagnating performance, and ever growing lack of responsibility for one's own healthcare.

In the meantime, the Conservatives are too gutless to take this on - so the debate needs to happen outside the three main (socialist) parties.

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