Looking for Private Alternatives to the National Health Service

All you have to do is read British publications to see what the mess otherwise called the National Health Service.  Yet the NHS is a sacred cow on right and left.  The Institute of Economic Affairs has just published a new monograph which gives a flavor of the NHS’s many problems:

Politicians will go to any lengths to persuade the voting public that the National Health Service is safe in their hands. Alternative policy models cannot be placed before the electorate unless political parties take huge risks. Yet, at the same time, we see even a Labour government drawing private finance into the health service and giving patients rights to use the private sector.

This groundbreaking new study shows that, although politicians do not feel confident in proposing radical new models of healthcare, elite opinion in the media, in political circles, in academia and in policy think tanks has fallen out of love with the idea of a centrally planned health service provided and financed by government.

Elite opinion does not, as yet, warm to a free market in healthcare. Although aspects of a market-based system are accepted, ideas of ‘market failure’ loom large – especially amongst the political class. Nevertheless, the author shows how some groups of opinion formers are prepared to be more radical. These groups, she believes, may in time be effective in promoting a vision of a market in healthcare that is free from government interference and from the stifling power of government-granted professional monopolies.

Americans who believe that socializing health care is the wave of the future might want to have a read.