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OpenMarket: Business and Government

  • Antitrust Liberalization May Avert Need for Bailouts; Outdated Laws Deter Efficient Mergers

    December 14, 2008
    In early 2007, the economy was humming along and General Motors was considered to be in the process of a turnaround. To help stabilize itself, the company was considering buying its smaller, money-losing rival Chrysler.
  • Protecting Pets Before People

    December 12, 2008
    Why do advocates of socialized medicine prefer pets over people?  It's hard not to conclude that's the way they think.  After all, in Canada you can get a CT scan or MRI sooner for your "companion animal" than for your child.  And health insurance is a thriving business in Great Britain, which only recently decided to allow people to spend extra to get better drugs than those offered by the National Health System. Reported Reuters earlier this year:
    Forget worming pills and a flea collar -- a trip to the vet in Britain these days could be about heart surgery, joint replacement, chemotherapy or a host of other cutting-edge procedures. Britain is one of the few countries in Europe to offer many of these complex treatments: devoted British pet-owners have fuelled a fast-growing insurance...
  • Effective Health Care Cost Containment

    December 10, 2008
    With the Obama administration preparing to address the problem of health care, they should remember that the most effective form of cost containment is to encourage patients to treat themselves.  Britain's National System has perfected this technique.  As the Guardian reported last year:
    Large numbers of people are going without dental treatment and some even report extracting their own teeth because they cannot find an NHS dentist in their area, a survey reveals today. The Dentistry Watch survey of more than 5,000 people, from the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, found widespread unhappiness among both patients and dentists despite government reforms to increase the availability of NHS dentistry. More than three-quarters of those who have a private dentist...
  • Abarackadabra! A 21st Century "New Steal"

    December 7, 2008
    JOBS, ROADS, BRIDGES, SCHOOLS, BROADBAND, ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS, ENERGY...blares the Drudge Report. It's President-elect Obama's weekend plan---not to produce, but to transfer yet more of the nation's dwindling wealth to those with political pull. On Sunday's Meet the Press interview he stressed “shovel ready” projects — shoveling from right-hand to left remains the extent of it. Look at...
  • The Wonders of Socialized Medicine, Part LXVI

    December 7, 2008
    The Daily Mail reminds us how government health care is compassionate and efficient;
    So imagine my shock when I saw how some nurses recently treated my elderly aunt. Annie was a stoical Yorkshire woman, and a devout Christian; she'd dedicated her life to helping others, training as a nurse and midwife before moving to Africa, where she set up several hospitals and nursing schools. She was so committed to helping the poor that she undertook a postgraduate study on kwashiorkor - a muscle-wasting tropical disease caused by malnutrition. Yet, with appalling irony, 50 years later my aunt spent her twilight months wasting away in an NHS hospital - as a result of malnutrition. Only this time the cause was a very British...
  • Doug, I think you're partly wrong

    December 2, 2008
    Doug, The situation you describe in the UK here is outrageous however one looks at it. Indeed, it provides a strong case why the United States should not switch to the type of single-provider health care system that exists under the UK's National Health Service. But I'd take issue with your conclusion:
    But turning the entire system over to government ensures that Americans will lack the health care they need and will end up paying a lot more for whatever care the government deigns to provide.
    For at least two reasons, I don't think this makes sense.
  • Health Care Bureaucrats Take Care of Themselves

    November 30, 2008
    For years observers have noted the phenomenon of public school teachers sending their kids to private schools--especially in cities with the worst and deadliest public facilities.  Teachers at government schools might not be able to teach their own kids, but they can send them to safer, better private alternatives.  So it appears to be with health care in Great Britain. Reports the Daily Telegraph:
    The money was used to bring in physiotherapists to help workers recover from muscular-skeletal injuries at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Bosses said it prevented them from leapfrogging NHS patients and enabled them to return to work more quickly. However, the private treatment, which amounted to £12,116 for 271 appointments over the past year, was...
  • You've Just Got to Love Britain's Health Care Bureaucrats

    November 29, 2008
    First the National (Un)Health Service said if you wanted a drug that it wasn't willing to provide--too expensive for the purpose of saving your miserable life!--and decided to buy it yourself, then you would lose ALL medical care under the NHS.  That is, if you wanted a potentially life-saving treatment, you might have to bankrupt your family to pay for the rest of your treatment.  Just love those bureaucrats.  How I want that kind of treatment here, but I digress. Under fire from just about everyone, NHS reversed itself. Now you can buy the drugs and continue your treatment under NHS.  But what about families that did ruin themselves financially under the old rules?  Reports the Daily Mail:
    The health service is set to face a string of compensation...
  • Socialize Medicine, Kill Cancer Patients

    November 24, 2008
    Any American who travels to Europe as I just did is likely to get hit with the argument that the United States is inhumane because the government does not "guarantee" access to health care. But look at the result of nationalized health care systems. Care may be guaranteed, but what kind of care? In Great Britain, for instance, the government's tender-loving care leaves thousands of cancer patients to die unnecessarily. Reports the Times of London:
    Up to 11,000 lives a year could be saved if cancer survival rates in Britain were up with the best in Europe, campaigners will say today. England, Scotland and Wales lag behind most other European countries for survival rates for the disease, something the Government says is due in part to patients not noticing the warning signs of...
  • Too Bad Daschle Isn't at SEC -- Backed Sarbanes-Oxley Relief

    November 20, 2008
    President-Elect Barack Obama just nominated former Senate Democratic Leader Tom to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services. Much is being written about Daschle being a Washington insider, which he certainly is, but after leaving the Senate after his defeat in 2004, Daschle has commendably taken on the Beltway conventional wisdom on an important issue: The Sarbanes-Oxley accounting mandates. In late 2005, Daschle became one of the first Democrats to criticize the 2002 law, rushed through Congress in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom falures, for its unintended consequences on entrepreneurs. In doing so he helped make the cause of Sarbox relief and reform biparisan. In a Wall Street Journal...

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