I had an interesting discussion about socialized medicine with a friend once. She maintained that the American version couldn't turn into the inferior systems we see in Canada and the U.K. Why, I asked? Because Americans wouldn't run things so badly, she countered. Believe me, this was not a cliched blind faith in the superiority of all things U.S. Further discussion revealed that she had too much faith in the results of a free market system, without any faith in what causes these results--a free market system. This is the sort of thinking todays' Democratic politicians hope for: faith in the American system--but little understanding of why the American system works.
Just an FYI:
A government-held monopoly is always inefficient, ineffective and more costly than whatever system it purports to be replacing for the good of the people. See: Department of Education. And, no, more money isn't the solution.
For a more informed view on the socialized medicine, James Bartholomew gives his thoughts on the NHS and links to a interesting series by the Telegraph:
Belatedly, I want to mention the extraordinary mess the government has made of the hiring of junior doctors. It has been well covered in the Telegraph.
It should not come as a surprise that the NHS has completely mucked up this business. The government is a bad administrator. It is also in a monopoly position. This kind of disaster is the sort of thing that governments operating monopolies go in for - although this does rank among the most cack-handed foul-ups that even a government monopoly has managed.
The dislocation the NHS has brought upon itself and the misery endured by doctors are appalling. The only possible silver lining is that perhaps more in the medical profession will come to view the NHS as a failed idea. Already there are far more who take that view than there were a decade ago.
Here is part of a letter printed there which was written by a doctor:
These last few weeks have been the final straw for many of us. We have been subjected to the most unfair and least meritocratic selection process ever seen, MTAS [medical training application service] via MMC [modernising medical careers].
Here is a link to several letters.
We have had to sum up our years of work and experience in several politically correct short answer questions, on which we are then judged. Examinations, experience and references are all but ignored in the pursuit of vague waffle. Shame on those who are behind this scheme. Many a tear will be shed this week by many brilliant young doctors who have had their hopes and dreams crushed in a quite barbaric fashion. Many of us will emigrate and many of us will leave the profession; I hope those behind the scheme are proud of these achievements.
Here is the beginning of an excellent article on it by Dr Max Pemberton:
The sight of people breaking down in tears is not uncommon on wards.
But on wards this week there have been scenes never witnessed before — scores of people bursting into tears, inconsolable and scared.
As I walked on to a ward there were huddles of people attempting to console others; nurses with outstretched arms, consultants with kind words, people shaking their heads in disbelief and hugging each other. They aren't patients though. They are doctors.
This week saw the results of the new Government initiative Modernising Medical Careers (MMC), which has been branded by those caught up in this chaotic reshuffle as "Massive Medical Cull".
All junior doctors in the country have had their contracts of employment terminated from August and been forced to reapply for their jobs through MTAS (Medical Training Application Service), an online, Kafkaesque application service.
From the beginning the process has been fraught with technical glitches, delays and conflicting information.
In my hospital, over half of the doctors I work with have not been selected. Most have been training in excess of 10 years, many of them have already obtained further degrees in their field of work and yet are now deemed surplus to requirements. They face an uncertain future.