Universal neglect from so-called universal health care
Author: Source - EditorialDate: 13 November 2007
The universal health care model those on the left have been trying to force on the U.S. will establish a system in which the state takes over medical treatments and makes decisions for the sick, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).


 The ugly reality of this is evident in Britain. According to the Daily Mail:


 v        The National Health Service recently began denying cardiac patients access to drug-coated stents (tubes used to open up arteries).


 v        The stents – used to treat around 30,000 patients a year – were apparently deemed not cost-effective.


 v        The decision was made despite surgeons saying that holding back drug-coated stents will actually increase NHS' costs because many patients who don't get the stents will eventually need expensive heart bypass surgery.


 Clearly, Britain is not the ideal place to get sick. But no comment on universal care would be complete without mentioning Canada, says IBD:


 v        Among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, the Fraser Institute notes in a recent study, Canada ranks No. 13 out of 24 in access to MRIs.


 v        The country also ranks No. 18 in CT scans and No. 7 out of 17 in access to mammograms.


 Source: Editorial, Universal Neglect, Investor's Business Daily, November 6, 2007.


 For text: http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=279244057766107">



For more on Health Issues: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16”>


 RSA Note by Eustace Davie, Director, Health Policy Unit:

SA has to carefully weigh up the various factors involved in the provision of health care to the poor, given the experience of wealthy countries such as the UK and Canada that cannot provide universal access to health care despite their relative wealth. Whatever  per capita incomes might be, demand will always be unlimited and supply limited. In fact, promising universal access increases demand exponentially as people transfer responsibility for their health from themselves to the nanny state.

SA, being a relatively poor country, cannot afford to attempt to provide universal access.

 Provision of health care to the poor should incorporate the following essentials:

v        The state must not usurp the responsibility of those who can afford to provide for their own health care or interfere unnecessarily with their financing arrangements, their health care choices, or the health industry that provides them with services.

v        As individuals become more affluent, their dependence on taxpayer-provided care should end and they should take over responsibility for their own health care.

v        Mechanisms must be devised to control usage by patients to ensure that the really sick are not swamped out by the not so sick.

v        Poor patients should be given the option to utilise private health care services at taxpayer expense at rates negotiated by government with private providers who are prepared to establish special concessionary rates for the poor.

v        Government should aim for an end state in which, with high economic growth, the numbers of poor patients diminish rapidly and health services for those that remain are increasingly purchased from a competitive private sector.  

v        Government should aim to transfer ownership and control of its health care facilities to the people who work in them, and where appropriate, to the communities in their immediate vicinity.

v        Part of the end state aim should be for the government to be a provider of finance for health care for the poor and not a health care service provider.


HPU Policy Bulletin/ 13 November 2007


For more information please contact:

                              Eustace Davie, Director

Tel: (011) 884 0270, Fax: (011) 884 5672, Email: hpu@mweb.co.za

Website: www.healthpolicyunit.org