A poll that sampled 1,000 Americans last week revealed that 62 percent don’t want healthcare prices set by government mandates or well-intentioned policies, and that the free market offers a better opportunity for striking a desirable balance between healthcare quality and healthcare costs.
That’s hardly a revelation. It’s just another dollop of evidence atop a mountain of studies and surveys, as well as editorials, talk-radio rants and millions of anecdotes (just about everyone, it seems, knows a local doctor who’s planning an early retirement to escape the imminent mess) that collectively demonstrate the confusion and destruction Obamacare is set to wreak not only on the quality and cost of healthcare, but on patient choice as well.
For all the injustice evident in our current, corrupt feedback loop of doctors, insurers and Big Pharma, there’s still a reason Americans don’t like socialized medicine. It limits quality of care, asks people who aren’t sick to pay for treating people who are and takes crucial liberties out of patients’ (and even doctors’) hands.
Look across the Atlantic, where a prominent member of the British Medical Association said the country’s debt-ridden National Health Service (NHS) is worse than “communist China” in leashing doctors and handing bureaucrats the decision-making control over operational policies that directly affect what diagnoses and treatments patients can receive.
The NHS system faces a shutdown of 20 hospitals throughout Britain as it struggles under a growing debt set to top $50 billion within the next decade. The impact of the financial crunch has meant three-month waits (often the difference between life and death) for cancer treatments and warnings that a present-day bailout of British healthcare would dwarf that of Cyprus — not of Cypriot hospitals, but the whole country.
Reading British healthcare officials’ comments is a depressingly Kafkaesque trudge through the lamentations of administrative bosses set within hierarchies pitched against one another in ridiculous power struggles, white noise about what a disservice everything is to the patients and vindictive glances to the past to assign blame along partisan lines. Kind of like watching C-SPAN when the U.S. Senate is in session. Expect the same sort of buzz to filter to these shores, for good, unless Obamacare is repealed.