Human Exceptionalism

NHS Meltdown: Spending Doubles for Bureaucracy

It would be one thing if the NHS bureaucrats were delivering improved care. But for years now, under the general heading “NHS Meltdown,” I have chronicled failure after sometimes deadly failure of the socialized medical service to the people of the UK. But that hasn’t stopped spending for centralized controllers from shooting through the stratosphere. From the story:

Government spending on central bureaucracy in the health service has more than doubled in five years, research has found.

Opposition politicians said the figures demonstrated that the NHS had become a “bureaucratic black hole” under Labour, with money diverted away from the front line to pay an increasing army of administrators.

And get this!

The report found that while staff numbers rose by 18 per cent in five years, the amount spent on them rose by 48 per cent. The rise in the number of administrators outstripped the rise in numbers of doctors and nurses.

Ai, yi, yi: If half of this is true–and the NHS disputes–centralized control is clearly not the way to go. And certainly, we don’t want utilitarian bioethicists calling the shots as to who gets care and what procedures are or are not covered–as happens in the UK with the Orwellian named National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Alas, there are reports that the foundations for just such a committee have already been laid here in the USA–and they would apply to both public and private health care. The expected denials have also been filed.

I am told by sources closely connected to Big Time Washington DC to expect a law requiring universal coverage to pass this year. The red lights are blinking like mad and the sirens are blaring about what kind of system we should work hard to avoid. Then there are the intractable issues of whether to include abortion in basic coverage, illegal aliens, mental health, etc. And make no mistake: Futile Care Theory will be part of this mess.

If mandatory universal coverage gets pushed this year, and it is unlikely to be next year because of the elections, it is going to be an A # 1 political conflagration.

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