You still want a single-payer system? Think again:

Patients are being denied appointments with consultants in a systematic attempt to ration care and save the NHS money, The Times has learnt.

Leaked documents passed to The Times show that while ministers promise patients choice, a series of barriers are being erected limiting GPs’ rights to refer people to consultants . . .

. . . Consultant-to-consultant referrals are also being limited, in many cases denying patients a second opinion.

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  • Graham

    Come on, Kevin. I find it hard to believe you don’t know the difference between single-payer and the UK system, but they’re not the same.

  • Eye Doc

    Things are just as bad in Canada, so it’s certainly not a phenomenon isolated to Britain. Socialized medicine just plain doesn’t work, the same way that socialized anything else doesn’t work.

  • mchebert

    You mean socialized policing, socialized military, socialized highways, socialized (public) schooling doesn’t work?

    Dang. Well then, anarchy it is.

    The perfect is the enemy of the good. We single payer nuts don’t think a single payer system will be perfect. We just think it will be better than what we have. Not in every way, but in enough ways to make it a reasonable choice.

  • TXMed

    I didn’t know the distinction either, so I’ve been educated by Graham’s link.

    But the difference is semantics in this instance. For matters of access there is no distinction between a single payer system and socialized medicine. The problem forces that limit choice and timliness are identical in both systems.

  • Anonymous

    The system we have now is good…we make a decent income and we can screw over the litigious a-holes that populate this country by sending them to the er and odering unnecessary tests and referrals…it’s just taken us a while to get the hang of this defensive medicine thing but I think we’re all getting the hang of it…why didn’t they teach me defensive medicine in medical school?!

  • Anonymous

    bowing to the Smiter of Sodomites-

    We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy!

    BTW, I’d hardly use the example of socialized schooling as an endorsement for government involvement.

  • Anonymous

    Who needs socialized medicine? Medicine should be more commercialized. Start advertising buy one get one free physicals and $10 off pap smear coupons! Discount CT scans of the head won’t be far behind.

  • Anonymous

    Why not complete commercialization? Look at Lasik surgery–it’s price has gone down over the last decade, and quality has improved.

    Let’s eliminate third-payer systems completely–and let doctors become like hairdressers.

    There may be some poor people who have to die in the streets, but overall utility will be increased and that’s the important thing.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not just Lasik surgery, the prices of many services that are not typically done with the involvement of insurance companies have gone down overtime: most dental procedures (e.g., braces), most elective cosmetic procedures (e.g. laser hair removal), and even cosmetic surgeries. This argument is often used to show that the market can reign in costs. However, what all these things have in common is that they are what they are – elective. Controlling someone’s diabetes is not elective in this sense. So the detractors have doubts that this approach would work with essential medical services. I personally don’t know whether it would or wouldn’t. It would be nice to see a thorough analysis of the issue from a knowledgeable economist. Perhaps a distinction should be made between one-time procedures with few follow-ups, like setting a broken bone, and caring for the chronically ill.

    “There may be some poor people who have to die in the streets…”

    I think this is the sticky part. Not enough people would consider this acceptable. Any discussion of the issue that I have ever attended in medical school starts with “We all agree that it is morally wrong to have restricted access to needed medical care…”