The Corner

UK Socialized Medicine Meltdown

When what became Obamacare was first proposed, some of its architects and primary proponents urged that we adopt cost controls akin to those imposed by the UK’s socialized National Health Service.

Bad idea. The NHS is in such terrible shape that it is rationing hip and knee replacements. If you can struggle through the day despite the pain, no surgery for you! From the Guardian story:

A senior NHS official has admitted that funding shortages mean hip and knee replacements will have to be rationed according to pain levels in some parts of the country.

Three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the West Midlands have proposed reducing the number of people who qualify for hip replacements by 12%, and knee replacements by 19%. To qualify under the proposed rules, patients would need to have such severe levels of pain that they could not sleep or carry out daily tasks.

If a private insurance company tried to so restrict needed care, there would be hell to pay and lawyers lining up like kids at a ride in Disneyland to file their lawsuits. But when the government is making these calls, there is little recourse.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this mess. One is that rigid, centralized healthcare control does not work.