Wednesday, January 11, 2006

NHS beats Social Insurance unshock

It's always good to have one's prejudices reinforced. In the Times today Daniel Finkelstein, who was adviser to both John Major and William Hague, stood as a Tory candidate in Harrow West and isn't a bleeding heart liberal, writes about his dismay at the reaction of some people to David Cameron's pledge to stick with the NHS. All sorts of 'thinkers' are forever inventing schemes which they fondly imagine will miraculously reduce the cost of healthcare. But I've never understood why, for example, moving some financial administration out into multiple insurance companies could possibly do anything other than to raise overall costs (I worked for an insurance company for 15 years).

The article quotes Mrs Thatcher's memoirs "The NHS, she wrote, had a “relatively modest unit cost, at least compared to some insurance-based systems”". even "Nigel Lawson quickly came to the view that an insurance system “inevitably results in a massive further escalation in the cost of healthcare”."

Right wing free market fantasists often bleat on about small government yet they can't point to many successful modern states that don't have what they'd regard as too much regulation and too much other government interference. They remind me of the theorists who would construct in their minds the ideal communist state back in the 1960/70s. Even after it became obvious that the Eastern Europe model wasn't working we could kid ourselves (for I was one of them) that they had the answer in Asia. But it's an illusion. And Small Government is another illusion. A Hughes rule: 'if it ain't working somewhere in the world it almost certainly won't work anywhere in the world.'


At 11:03, Blogger The Blind-Winger Jones said...

I think Finkelstein was an SDP man originally - like so many of his former colleagues they seem to have dissappeared off into free market la-la land.
There does seem to be the beginnings of mutterings from sections of the Tory party about the direction Cameron is taking them, and with no noticeable significant bounce in the poll ratings it could all get very messy.

At 15:06, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Yes the mutterings are starting to build up. And with 40 months at least to the next General Election there's plenty of time....


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