But what really needs to happen is that the NHS needs to be completely abolished. Now, I know that this might have caused some gasps, in much the same way as Bill Hicks' suggestion that we use terminally ill people as disposable stuntmen and women, although given my general readership I suspect that there will be a certain amount of agreement.
The ones gasping will, of course, whine about the hundreds of billions of poor people, who are splashed across newspapers daily throughout the world, who die unnecessarily in the US because the poor dears cannot afford the private medical insurance (and who seem to think that Medicaid, which consumes an average of a quarter of each state's budget is just a figment of George Bush's fucking imagination). "What about the poor?" they will shriek.
Now, despite my being a filthy libertarian who believes in a teeny, tiny government (preferably small enough to join those angels dancing on those pinheads) I am not actually interested in stamping on the poor; contrary to popular opinion, I have done some literally shitty jobs, I have been extremely poor (and continue to be so) and I don't wear a top hat, chomp on a large cigar, rest my feet on my
Inspired by Right For Scotland, I decided to have a look at private Health Insurance. I was astonished by what I found. Let us bear in mind that I still smoke and drink quite heavily, but the highest that I could get my premiums was £58 a month. Now, I didn't read the policies in hair-fine detail, although I did check that they were fairly comprehensive (there was one which offered as many free consultation as needed and offered 240 procedures that the NHS did not cover, but (obviously) did not cover those that the NHS considered priorities, which was £18 a month). Whatever, it all seemed like a bit of a bargain, frankly.
And it is eminently affordable. I'm seriously considering getting a policy (as soon as my income becomes a little more regular). After all, it's not much more than a month's worth of Sky TV, and which one would you say is more important? (Anyone who answers "Sky" actually deserves to die for lack of medical care.)
Back when I originally assembled the "blogger cabinet", Andrew was assigned to the Department of Health and came up with a good way of privatising all of the hospitals. Essentially, all hospitals would be spun off as Limited Companies; however, I would also be tempted to make them not-for-profit organisations with charitable status. They could then engage in fund-raising and solicit charitable donations (which is how hospitals used to obtain the greater part of their funds).
The point is that central planning simply doesn't work, either in terms of cost efficiency or in delivery of the services. What I think that we would eventually see is more smaller, local hospitals; the re-emergance of the cottage hospital, if you like. This is because a smaller facility would require far less capital expenditure to build, would be easier to manage and would be more responsive to local needs. But this is in the future.
Treatment would be paid for by private medical insurance. Most working people can afford £50 a month (especially if NICs were totally abolished, which it should be, and if my commensurate plan of bringing in a £12,000 Personal Allowance were also implemented).
"But what about the poor?" I hear you scream, "will they die like rats for want of a credit card?" No, for this is where we look at the alternatives. As part of unemployment benefits, the government will pay your health insurance premiums for you (as NI was essentially supposed to do). They will not pay it to themselves, they will pay to a private company, who will be chosen by you (or your existing supplier if you had one) so that you know that your premiums will actually go towards providing healthcare rather than fat, fucking MPs' over-generous pensions.
If someone should be left without medical insurance, then the solution is simple. If they need medical treatment, they will simply pay back the charges over x years, paying a monthly amount until the debt is paid off. If you can get free credit with a new sofa, then I see no reason why the same thing should not be the case with medical care.
There we go, sorted. Any questions?