Minor Thoughts from me to you

Archives for Britain (page 1 / 1)

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Dies

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Dies →

Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who became one of the most influential global leaders of the postwar period, died on Monday, three decades after her championing of free-market economics and individual choice transformed Britain's economy and her vigorous foreign policy played a key role in the end of the Cold War.

"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother, Baroness Thatcher, died peacefully following a stroke this morning," said Mrs. Thatcher's spokesman, Timothy Bell. She was 87.

Who needs to give birth in a hospital?

It's great that Great Britain has high quality health care available to everyone, courtesy of the British government. Expectant mothers are especially appreciative. After all, without the NHS, some of them would have never known that it's possible to give birth outside of a delivery room.

Thousands of women are having to give birth outside maternity wards because of a lack of midwives and hospital beds.

The lives of mothers and babies are being put at risk as births in locations ranging from lifts to toilets - even a caravan - went up 15 per cent last year to almost 4,000.

Health chiefs admit a lack of maternity beds is partly to blame for the crisis, with hundreds of women in labour being turned away from hospitals because they are full.

Latest figures show that over the past two years there were at least:

  • 63 births in ambulances and 608 in transit to hospitals;
  • 117 births in A&E; departments, four in minor injury units and two in medical assessment areas;
  • 115 births on other hospital wards and 36 in other unspecified areas including corridors;
  • 399 in parts of maternity units other than labour beds, including postnatal and antenatal wards and reception areas.

Additionally, overstretched maternity units shut their doors to any more women in labour on 553 occasions last year.

I'm so glad that the British don't leave their health care up to a greedy, heartless private sector motivated only by profits. Imagine what might happen if they did!

Health care without bureaucrats

Any bureaucracy -- public or private -- is going to make pointless decisions and complicate your life. This applies to health "insurance" as much as it applies to anything else. It's easy to find stories of people who were heartlessly treated by their health bureaucracy. In Britain, the bureaucracy is the government run NHS. In America, it's often a private company. But the end result is often the same.

John Goodman points to a recent story and then offers an alternative.

Is there a better way? Yes. It's called casualty insurance -- similar to the kind of insurance most people have on their homes and automobiles. In the case of a catastrophic illness, the insurer makes a lump sum available -- ideally enough to cover all reasonable care. But when there are differences of opinion, patients can add their own funds to the insurer's payment and buy any type of care from any provider. For Medicaid, additional funds could be provided by private charity (which is what is happening anyway for Dr. Pollard's patients).

This is not a small change from the current system. It is a huge change. It would lead to a real market for catastrophic care in which patients and their families become real, empowered buyers. Providers would compete for patients based on price and, therefore, on quality. Doctors would be free to act as the agents of their patients rather than agents of third-party-payer bureaucracies.

Why would you want to hand control over your health care over to a bureaucracy? And why would you believe that a government bureaucracy would run more smoothly -- and treat you more fairly -- than a private bureaucracy?

Reverse Imperialism

I was just flipping through my newsreader and saw an interesting headline: Tata Pulls Ford Units Into Its Orbit:

Tata Motors said that it was entering detailed talks with Ford about the takeover of Jaguar and Land Rover, confirming what investors and analysts have anticipated for months.

I've been reading The Downing Street Years by Margaret Thatcher lately. Early in her prime ministership, Lady Thatcher had to decide what to do with Land Rover -- at the time an ailing government owned company. I haven't yet read what her ultimate decisions were, but somewhere along the line it was sold at least once and now Ford owns it.

According to this article, Ford may sell Land Rover to Tata Motors, an Indian owned company. It wasn't that long ago (cosmically speaking) that Britain "divested" itself of India. Now, in a manner of speaking, India may be taking over a part of Britain.

I find that both slightly amusing and a great symbol of how much richer the world is becoming.