Monday, June 06, 2011

Are state-run services better than private ones?

Tom Paine has one of my favourite quotes on this...
Even after [socialists'] ideology was tested to destruction on more than half of humanity in the 20th Century; killing millions and impoverishing hundreds of millions, there are still idiots who believe in the intrinsic moral superiority of state-run services. Even, can you believe, in a part of the world where childrens homes were run for twenty years by local authority-employed paedophiles (as I have posted before)? The social workers in question were not motivated by profit, so presumably that's all right then?

Yes, indeed: why not ask Margaret "I cannot hear my employees fucking the kids" Hodge—once, disgustingly (and in a general "fuck you" to the British public, courtesy of Tony Blair), Minister for Children...

These people make me want to vomit.


the a&e charge nurse said...

Abuse is not exclusive to the state sector, and well you know it Devil.

Psychopaths like Stalin and Mao Tse Tung were not socialists, in the sense understood by most liberal democracies.

Here's a little challenge for you - can you name even one health service in the UK were the private sector outperforms the state, and by that I mean a claim supported by evidence rather than the usual libertarian rhetoric?

Tom Paine said...

"Psychopaths like Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung were not socialists..."

Sez you. They lived and died promoting socialism and - as Trotsky shrewdly observed - the supreme proof of the mediocrity of the apparatus was that Stalin rose. So did someone like him, more or less, wherever a full attempt to replace the free market with state planning was attempted.

As for your question, it's an impertinent one given that DK and I were only scorning people who assert the profit motive increases bad behaviour, not claiming - as we are not idiots - that no-one in the private sector misbehaves. Those who assert the instrinsic superiority of state provision are the ones to be put to proof. Nonetheless, I have a simple answer- basic hygiene. My wife has been treated for the past three years in a private hospital which has been free of MRSA throughout. What's the situation in yours?

A more realistic comparison is not between the public and - highly-limited - private sector in Britain (limited not least by the bad money driving out good problem of competing with a "free" system for which potential customers have already been forced to pay) but between different national systems. Female cancer survival rates in the USA are 62.9% vs 52.7% in England, 54.1% in Wales and 48% (disgracefully) in Scotland. The US statistics include cancer cases among the 40 million uninsured, which would be treated on Medicare, Medicaid or by charity clinics. I suspect survival rates for the vast majority of Americans who have medical insurance are even higher. (the stats can be found here

The maligned US system (far from perfect in my view, but also far from the barbarism suggested by British Socialists with their fetishisation of the National Health Soviet) outperforms all EU countries with their varying blends of public and private provision on this key measure. I haven't even looked for the statistics in the remaining socialist states (Cuba, China, North Korea etc.). There's no point. They would be lies.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"My wife has been treated for the past three years in a private hospital which has been free of MRSA throughout. What's the situation in yours?" - very different to the private sector.

First of all NHS services are provided to all (irrespective of ability to pay and based on clinical need), not just a self selecting group of patients, offered treatment for a limited number of financial viable conditions.

Secondly nobody sets foot in a private hospital without being swabbed first, then if found to be carrying MRSA subject to two weeks of eradication before admission - this arrangement simply would not work for all of those NHS patients with cancer, or who receive haemodialysis (say) who suddenly develop a new or acute problem, neither would such an arrangement work for the endless stream of elderly care home patients shipped into A&E by ambulance 24 hours a day (i.e during the times of the day when the doors are closed to private admissions).

You fall into the usual trap of citing cancer stats (cited in the torygraph, natch) what year are they from and how robust was the data collection? - you better have a look at this

We will simply have to disagree about similarities between the regimes of Stalin and Mao and the sort of socialist ideals to be found in most western liberal democracies.

Tom Paine said...

We will also have to disagree about the correctness of putting that most vile and filthy of words "socialist" in proximity to the delightful word "ideals." Socialism and Communism have *identical* ends. The only difference is in the preferred means. You differ from Stalin in that you kindly promise not to steal my goods and enslave me until you have persuaded a majority of our neighbours to agree to it. Thanks a bunch.