Stumbling Toward a Market for Health Care in the U.K.

Many economists view the health-care bill passed in the U.S. earlier this year as falling somewhere between “a complete waste of time” and “actually making the situation worse.”

Will the Conservative Party do better with health-care reform in the U.K.? Delia Lloyd is cautiously optimistic that the proposed baby steps towards more market-based health care will improve the British system.

Even if the British health care reform fails, there seems to be a lot to like in the policies that David Cameron is pursuing.

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  1. Serolf Divad says:

    “Many economists view the health-care bill passed in the U.S. earlier this year…”

    This phrase reminds me of Weekly World News articles that began: “Top Scientists Predict Zombie Apocalypse Soon.”

    The simple fact is, if nothing is done to curb health care costs the U.S. will be bankrupted within a few decades. The Democratic Health Care proposals are modelled after ideas that were birthed in conservative think-tanks like the American Enterprise Institute in the 1990s. These are hard nosed, pro-market plans with minimal government control/intervention. It’s not because it’s the most effective way to expand coverage and lower costs, but because it’s the only politically viable option given the powerful economic interests allied against any form of health care reform. There is a lot of money to be made from bankrupting America, after all, the people who are bankrupting us are making a killing doing so. Health Care reform is aimed at curtailing that future. Sadly it’s a very steep, uphill battle.

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  2. howlless says:

    Actually, we should all commend Stephen for cleverly placing such a blatant obfuscation (“Many economists! MANY!”) up front, distracting us from his more severe obfuscation in the body of the post.

    Namely, his bold supposition that there is something drastically wrong with the British health care system and conservatives will… ahem… “fix” it.

    The Brits have universal, guaranteed health care. If Stephen can cite ANY data showing the Brits want to give that up, please feel free.

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  3. Christophe says:

    It’s easy when other people pay for it

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  4. Unsympathetic says:

    Did those “many economists” also point out to you that the health care bill was a copy of the Heritage Foundation’s work in Massachusetts? Yes, The Heritage Foundation.. the Republican think-tank, not a Democratic one. Unfortunately for those of us who are interested in fact rather than inaccurate Republican talking points, the health care bill was a precise copy of the same one that’s been the law of Massachusetts for years.

    Despite the vague assertions and unproven allegations of Fox News – excuse me, the Republican Party – the bill as passed was the BEST you could have possibly achieved while still keeping private health insurance alive. Democrats, you see, actually bother with making their bills deficit-neutral. Did your “many economists” remind you that the single main reason health care is bankrupting the US is Bush’s unfunded Medicare Part D – which cost over $850 billion, the single largest bill to date in the history of the country?

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  5. jonathan says:

    The UK has universal coverage, something Delia clearly points out, while the only proposals for the US other than the political compromise, mostly GOP created Obama reform would have done zero to cover more people. The GOP plan, per the CBO, would have covered a smaller proportion of the population in 2020.

    Cameron is wholly committed to maintaining the UK system while introducing efficiency reforms. If he changes that position, he will be voted out. The Tories know that.

    You carp about the Obama reform but offer nothing as an alternative other than continuing the high cost, low coverage system that puts tremendous risk on individuals and families unlucky enough to have illnesses or conditions.

    To play a card, you had this in your family. Imagine living with that without your University benefits, unable to get coverage for your child, unable to afford the care. That matters in the UK but apparently not to much of the US and, it appears, not to you.

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  6. Jon says:

    I agree with the largely universally appalled responses to Levitt’s opening sentence in these comments. Its obviously only one sentence so I won’t get too worked up about it, but just a really callous comment by Levitt. I hope he was merely trying to juxtapose the US debate with the humorously opposite debate happening in the UK, but even an economist can appreciate how bad the healthcare system is prior to the reform law and how very important aspects (# of uninsured, being dropped or denied by insurance companies) are at least being addressed in a significant way, if probably not solved.

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  7. Hitek says:

    The United Kingdom providing it’s “needy” citizens with the necessities required for life has led to generations of families that no longer intend on doing a very single day of work in their whole lives, so that a large portion of the population is completely supporting a smaller portion of the population, and it only seems to be getting worse and worse. Google “Council Houses”.

    Giving “children” what they want without *forcing* them to work for it tends to lead to spoiled and expectant “children”. This is human nature. Those who are able must be forced to work for what they get in life, so that generations of dependent people will not proliferate here(more than they already have because of our pre-existing social policies), as they have in the UK…

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  8. Y says:

    Yeah, maybe they’ll change the system in the UK so that people stop living longer than we do in the US. Bet the British people can’t wait for that.

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