Government controlled healthcare to be outsourced in the UK.

It looks like the government controlled British healthcare system has worked so well for the people that they are now being forced to, of all possible horrors, farm the work out to a foreign private company.

A German company has been in talks to take over NHS hospitals, the first tangible evidence that foreign multinationals will be able to run state-owned acute services, a market worth £8bn, the Guardian can reveal.

On the eve of the last Commons vote on the government’s bill before it heads to the Lords this week, freedom of information requests reveal a series of meetings focused on “potential opportunities in London” between officials from the Department of Health, the NHS, the management consultant McKinsey and one of the largest German private hospital chains, Helios.

Once EU competition law applies to the health service there would be no barrier to handing over the running of NHS hospitals to non-British firms. Helios has a record of turning around failing hospitals, largely by cutting staff or wage levels. Local politicians have accused it of being motivated more by revenues than by patient care.

Government controlled healthcare works about as well as the government controlled postal system here in the US: it costs way too freaking much, to then deliver service that is mediocre at its best, attracts the incompetent to its ranks, and in general is a money pit that bleeds the tax payers. I certainly do not want the people working at the Post Office or the DMV in charge of my healthcare decisions, curtailing access to it – because they will sure as hell tell you how unfair it is for me to have any kind of decent care when some member of some aggrieved group they use to gin up votes isn’t getting the same for free – and most important of all, robbing me of my freedoms in order to increase their power. Anyway, the reaction from those that profit from this scam was predictable:

The news came as key Lib Dems broke cover with a series of amendments designed to defang the government’s radical pro-market health bill. The vote has the potential to cause a major rift between the coalition partners and comes before a crunch meeting between Nick Clegg and his parliamentary party. The Lib Dem leader will seek to persuade potential rebels that there cannot be any more changes to the bill.

Sources close to Clegg said the leadership had already “used up a lot of political capital” by halting and then recasting the bill earlier this year. “We expect MPs to vote with the government. Otherwise we won’t last very long [in power].”

Evan Harris, a former Lib Dem MP and grassroots activist, warned the leadership it risked a revolt over the issue. He said the amendments showed “the bill in its current form does not have Lib Dem support and unless the necessary concessions are made it will fare extremely badly at the party conference and in the Lords”.

The British deserve the shitty healthcare system they have after letting government take it over. In general the whole “fairness” and “social justice” bullshit the left touts translates to robbing Peter to pay Paul for his vote, assuring equality of misery for all. No matter how good or well intentioned this crap it starts off as, it eventually degenerates into the USSR or North Korea, as the new autocratic nobility class that runs things runs out of other people’s money. Let’s hope we wise up here and do away with Obamacare before it leaves us in the same boat.

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  1. CM

    Whatever the problems are in the NHS, I personally found it to be really good.

    I certainly do not want the people working at the Post Office or the DMV in charge of my healthcare decisions

    Huh? Where are non-medical people going to be making on-the-ground healthcare decisions?

    The British deserve the shitty healthcare system they have after letting government take it over.

    You can listen to what it was like here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/nhs/5158.shtml

    Anyway, the reaction from those that profit from this scam was predictable:

    Yet again Alex, it IS possible to have legitimate objections that have nothing to do with who profits. Or a scam.

    it eventually degenerates into the USSR or North Korea

    Yeah. Obviously.

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  2. Rann

    Huh? Where are non-medical people going to be making on-the-ground healthcare decisions?

    Okay, seriously, stop.

    You know damn well he was referring to the quality of service, not to the specific employees, in other words making an argument about the level of efficiency and care characterized by some of the larger government offices here. I assume that even in a nation more socialized than the USA, two of the largest government organizations still must be the post office and whoever regulates various aspects of travel.

    You cannot actually be misunderstanding him. It’s not like he’s clever or subtle.

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  3. CM

    You know damn well he was referring to the quality of service

    Sorry Rann but that was certainly not clear to me. I still don’t really understand it. How are the people in the NHS like the people working in the Post Office in the UK? The people I met working in the NHS seemed no less professional than anyone else. The people I met in the Post Office seemed professional too. What does one have to do with the other?
    We have a govt health service here and I’m struggling to recall anyone who struck me as unprofessional, or less professional than anyone working in private healthcare. They were all suitably qualified.
    I don’t get it.
    It’s either an ideological blindness problem or a cultural difference.

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  4. Rann

    Sorry Rann but that was certainly not clear to me.

    If that really is true, then I just dunno where to go from there. You and he will be tearing each other’s guts out forever because apparently you’re both speaking entirely different languages even if they both look and read like English.

    It’s either an ideological blindness problem or a cultural difference.

    Oh, I’d say it’s probably both. And despite what you may think, it’s not just on his part, or the part of anyone arguing with you, either.

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  5. CM

    So what he’s saying is that people who work at the PO or DMV are idiots. Those workplaces are his examples of where idiots work? For a start isn’t that the sort of elitism that he’s constantly saying the left engage in? Second, if people working at the NHS are inherently idiots because they’re employed by govt, wouldn’t overall health outcomes in the UK be at third-world standards? Where do the non-idiot health professionals go?
    I’m sorry but none of it makes sense to me.

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  6. Rann

    Knowing Alex, yes, it probably is that simple for him, that they’re idiots. However, most Americans use the DMV as an example of how government workers are not adequate for a slightly more nuanced reason than that, even if they don’t quite get the whole nuance themselves. But let me explain why this divide will never be crossed and why you’ll probably never understand.

    First, I would have to explain how a visit to the DMV works here, along with getting into the variationd inherent in reality and the effect of the media trope version on our developing opinions. Not only would this be attempting to explain American consciousness to a non-American, being you you would probably try to argue with me about it because it goes against your experiences, despite those experiences being non-American.

    Then I would also have to explain just why government workers are perceived as incompetent, lazy, and rude thiat doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with “they’re idiots”. This would involve discussion of unions, so you’d argue with me there, too. And I’m not even saying this in a “because you’re such a dick” way, it’s just what I’ve seen.

    So basically, if I were to just to BEGIN to explain why the DMV example is used, we’d probably have at least two arguments that at best would end in a stalemate. So… yeah.

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  7. CzarChasm

    In a nutshell, the DMV or PO are used as examples to show bureaucratic inefficiency. Having little or nothing to do with the bureaucracy’s employees’ level of education, innate intelligence or dedication to professionalism, the bureaucracy itself creates red tape that ensures its inefficiency. Lines will always be long, resolution to problems will always be slow in coming, if they ever come at all, and individual John Q. Publics will rarely, if ever, walk away from what amounts to an involuntary encounter with individual bureaucrats feeling as though they were treated as a valued customer. At best, even when the bureaucrats are working under their best behavior, it’s difficult to feel like a valued customer when your patronage is mandated by the government. Conversely, from the other side of the counter, the bureaucrat has no incentive to be on their best behavior when they know that their “customers” will be forced by law to give them “repeat business” no matter how they act towards them.

    Alex can correct me if my nutshell thumbnail is off the mark he was trying to hit by using the DMV or PO as examples, but the above describes what I perceive to be a highly common view held by Americans of their government’s agencies that we are forced to interact with on a regular basis. Those agencies, and others similar to them, don’t have any influence over life and death decisions. Government-run healthcare bureaucracies will. Considering the virtual universal understanding by Americans when the PO or DMV are used as examples of government inefficiency, it should come as no surprise that the fear and frustration expressed about the coming healthcare bureaucracy would be off the charts considering that our very lives will be in the hands of bureaucrats not so much different than DMV or postal workers. When it gets right down to it, the healthcare workers just took different majors in college, but they’ll still be bureaucrats, and that is scary.

    Does that help CM?

    CC

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  8. AlexInCT *

    So what he’s saying is that people who work at the PO or DMV are idiots.

    I don’t know if they are idiots CM, but what I do know is that they are inefficient – in every experience I have had with the DMV or the PO one guys is working while the other 5 or 6 employees are chatting in the back and taking their sweet time while people wait – and that the experience is excruciatingly painful. Even worse, the PO is running massive deficits, and from the conversations I have had with friends working there – BTW none of them are idiots – the place is a disaster, primarily because of the way the union runs things. Working hard gets you absolutely nothing. Seniority is the only thing that counts. And it is reflected in how well they serve people or how deep their budgets end up in the red.

    Those workplaces are his examples of where idiots work?

    No CM, those are examples of how everything big government does results in employees, and especially the unionized ones, that do below optimal work for the cost. For some reason you seem immune to that concept or hell bent on pretending that’s not what I am talking about. Don’t worry, I understand why.

    For a start isn’t that the sort of elitism that he’s constantly saying the left engage in?

    Elitism? I am certain most employees working in these systems are not idiots, but because the idiots that created and live of these massive government bureaucracies have all but made it impossible for good work to happen, they end up succumbing to the pressures of mediocrity that comes with working for these big government entities. Pointing out that the elites that tell us they know everything better and then put these systems together that promote mediocrity at a ridiculous cost to tax payers – while inconveniencing them whenever they have to deal with them too – is now akin to being elitist? If making the case that’s a problem sounds elitist to you, then though.

    Second, if people working at the NHS are inherently idiots because they’re employed by govt, wouldn’t overall health outcomes in the UK be at third-world standards?

    First of all, I never said the people where all idiots, just that they where working in a system that rewarded time in and conformity to mediocrity rather than actual hard work because it was a bureaucratic morass. The one saying the actual employees are idiots is you. And no, the UK healthcare system is not operating at third-world standards. Many third world countries like India, Egypt, and so on have far better healthcare systems than the British do, and many British citizens travel there to get cheap and awesome service. If you really want to label the standard of operations I would say they are working at second-world standards – what we used to qualify systems run by communist countries where on paper they looked awesome but reality was that even if you happened to have decent staffing, that the whole system was replete with waste, inefficiency, lack of modern solutions, overwhelmed to the point they managed their load by simply using waiting lists to cull the masses, and in general serviced the customer like a bull services a cow – with a hefty dose of mediocre thrown in.

    Where do the non-idiot health professionals go?
    I’m sorry but none of it makes sense to me.

    What a nice red herring there CM. The problem isn’t the people but the system controlled by government bureaucrats. Of course, I am sure you knew that was exactly the point I was making, but you are again off on a tangent so you can pretend you have an argument to make.

    Here is a revelation for you: even the British government has wised up that they can’t do the job of running the system, and that’s why they are farming it off to a private company. The usual suspects that fear for loss in power they will experience once the system actually becomes effective under private management, proving they and their belief in big government to do everything is wrong, are fighting back to prevent this precisely because of that fear.

    You can keep pretending this is a problem with the healthcare employees and not the fact that G-O-V-E-R-M-E-N-T and excessive and idiotic government regulations that basically result in the employees being locked in a system where anything other than mediocrity is simply not warranted, to pretend you have a leg to stand on, but I am not bothering with it.

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  9. AlexInCT *

    I am sure CM understood that just fine CzarCasm, but as usual, he deflects from the real argument by introducing this tangent. He knows damned well that I am pointing out the problem is big government bureaucracy and what it inevitably does to even the best staffed system, but he can’t fight that fight, so now he pretends that what I said was that the employees where idiots so he can then use that straw man to knock down the argument.

    As I already pointed out. The left’s greatest fear is that if they actually manage to hand off responsibility for handling the NHS to a private company and that company cleans house and gets the system working more efficiently, that people will wise up to the fact they do not need to settle for government bureaucratic mediocrity elsewhere either, and that’s the end of the big socialist government gravy train.

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  10. CM

    Thanks for the explanation.
    Well given all my experiences living in two countries under two different public-type systems, I disagree. From my perspective you both seem to be arguing ideology. My reality doesn’t match your ideological theory. The only explanation I can think of is that US government departments are run really badly. They don’t have to be.

    Anyway I favour the current NZ system, where we have a mixed system.
    Alex I’ve never intentionally deflected from any argument. That’s you projecting again. I will, however, sometimes pick up on a premise which forms the central basis of the argument.

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