There are two problems we keep hearing about.

The first is the shambolic state our health service is in.  Hospitals are overcrowded, under resourced and frankly are in a state of complete meltdown.  The gubmint keeps throwing money into the bottomless pit and the situation grows worse by the day.

The second is the myth of the "burden" placed on the health service by all those people who enjoy a politically incorrect lifestyle – the smokers, the obese and the drinkers.

The gubmint in its infinite wisdom is compounding the mess by trying to introduce "free" healthcare for all.  They have already introduced "free" GP visits to everyone under six and over seventy, and this is quite naturally adding to the costs and increasing waiting times in surgeries.

As I have mentioned once or twice before, there is no such thing as "free" healthcare.  Someone has to pay, and that us of course, the taxpayer.  So five year old Johnny is wasting half an hour of his doctor's time with his sniffles and I am footing the bill.  Add in the seven to twelve years olds [as they are planning] and the burden increases, not only on the doctors but on my tax bill.

The is a very simple solution that would go a long way to fixing the whole mess.

Scrap the notion of free healthcare.

I am not suggesting that the whole enterprise should be run as a private concern.  There are few who could afford a hip replacement or heart bypass without some kind of financial help, so there has to be some kind of system where the likes of operations are subsidised.

Set up a system where taxes fund a portion of all healthcare.  Any and every patient then has to take care of the rest.  That way, those of us who are healthy merely pay the tax while those of us suffering from mythical "lifestyle diseases" would pay considerably more.

But what about those who can't afford to pay their portion?  No problem.  There is already a Medical Card system in place where those below a certain income, or who have a long term illness get free medical care.

There are two great advantages to this system.  First and foremost it would stop the time wasters.  Why should I wait in the waiting room while some five year old takes up the doctor's time for a trivial ailment?  I am paying for their visit yet the kid's parents could be on twenty times my income?  Is that fair and reasonable?  When people get a service they perceive as free, they will abuse that system to the hilt.

The second is that this myth of lifestyles causing a "burden" on the health service will forever be scotched.  In the event of someone causing themselves a damage, then they are the ones who will pay extra.  The health system will act as its own "sin tax".

Just a thought.

Maybe I'll mention it to the next canvasser who calls to the door.

If I haven't killed him first.


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Dumping the free lunch — 7 Comments

  1. With this being an entirely sensible proposition, it could never therefore be allowed to take place by those most affected by it.

    And "they" would be all of the nannying and hectoring "public health" lobby groups who would no longer have a reason to exist.

    But to the taxpayers this would also be a huge benefit, whilst all of that money no longer funding the NGO's could go towards the portion of healthcare funded by taxpayers.

  2. I don't much like your idea, G'dad. For some forty years, I paid 'National Insurance' contributions. The whole point of those payments was for 'health and welfare' insurance. In the same way that they did with 'road tax', the politicians gradually subsumed those payments into general taxation. 

    The solution to the health service funding problems is to reinstate the ring fencing of national insurance. But that does not mean that health services should be able to spend national insurance contributions on things which are not DIRECTLY concerned with health care, such as anti-smoker campaigns and research associated with such things. Such things ought to be totally separate from health care. 

    There is a fallacy that 'prevention' is part of health care. It is not. Prevention is political. 

    • Likewise here we had "Pay Related Social Insurance" which was the same deal.  I saw somewhererecently that Ireland spends more per capita on health than any other country yet we are bottom of the league with quality [second longest waiting times in Europe].  The system is in a complete mess, top heavy with overpaid management and not enough ground staff.  Most people here are so scared of the public system that they [and I] have very expensive private policies.  The gubmint are now promising "free healthcare for all" which will just open the flood gates.  The whole system really needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the foundations.

  3. What about someone who gets knocked off their motorbike? Do they pay more or wait (even) longer because they "should have bought a car" instead of 125cc of snarling death?

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