J. D. Heyes
September 24, 2012
If you want to get a good look at the future of healthcare in America, compliments of the “Affordable Care Act,” the monstrosity reform law known not-so-affectionately known as Obamacare, look across the Atlantic to Great Britain. Because of that law, our system is set to become nearly as socialized a system of medicine as is the system in England, where top doctors are now predicting that a number of hospitals there are “on the brink of crisis,” the BBC is reporting.
That’s not politics, that’s reality.
According to the Royal College of Physicians, a trio of issues – rising demand, increasingly complex cases and falling numbers of hospital beds – is contributing to the destruction of the healthcare system there.
In fact, the college’s assessment said urgent care was already being compromised, warning that the situation was going to get worse unless some real workable solutions were implemented.
As is usually the case, especially in the U.S. – where messianic faith in the “government-knows-best” approach is rampant among our entrenched bureaucracy and many of our elected leaders – British paper-pushers are tut-tutting the school’s assessment, claiming the country’s National Health Service (NHS) can handle any challenge, pending or in the future.
Worsening standards, smaller budgets, less care
Part of the problem, the college said, was that medical science had led to longer lives. But just because people are living longer doesn’t mean they are always living healthy lives; conditions such as dementia are complex and require more care, thereby adding to expenses.
At the same time, the college noted that the number of hospital beds have fallen by one-third in the past 25 years (a similar fate has befallen U.S. hospitals too, by the way), amid rising numbers of emergency admissions.
In addition, the RCP reported that standards of care were also sliding in hospitals throughout the country. The report “cited the way older patients were repeatedly moved around wards, the lack of continuity of care while in hospital and tests being done during the night as some of the examples of how care was suffering,” the BBC reported.
The report went on to highlight the results of member surveys, in which a number of physicians and health care professionals voiced concerns over discharge arrangements and the workload they were enduring.
“This evidence is very distressing. All hospital patients deserve to receive safe, high-quality sustainable care centered around their needs,” said RCP Prof. Tim Evans.
“Yet it is increasingly clear that our hospitals are struggling to cope with the challenge of an aging population who increasingly present to our hospitals with multiple, complex diseases,” he continued. “We must act now to make the drastic changes required to provide the care they deserve.”
But how to fix things?
The RCP report recommended closing some hospitals and concentrating services in fewer, though larger, medical sites that are able to provide better round-the-clock care. But that approach would have to be accompanied by resultant improvements in community services as well, since there have been many British patients who wound up in the hospital because they didn’t have adequate help closer to their home.
“These latest findings are alarming but, unfortunately, not surprising,” said Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society. “It is painfully evident that the healthcare system stands on the brink of crisis. People with dementia are going into hospital unnecessarily, staying in too long and coming out worse.”
Britain is the future
What does all of this have to do with America and Obamacare?
The British NHS is all government (taxpayer) funded; there is very little room for private-sector innovation and management. It is simply a top-down, top-heavy bureaucracy, much like Obamacare when it gets fully up and running.
What’s more, as care becomes more expensive and the resources to fund the system become more scarce, the NHS has resorted to rationing care.
Oh, but wait. That’s Great Britain, right? That can’t happen here in the United States. Obamacare fixes all of that.
No, it doesn’t. A government-run healthcare system in the country of our founding fathers does not work either. And you should know, there are already advocates in the U.S. calling for rationing.
One such advocate is Peter Singer, a “prominent Princeton University ethicist.”
Still confident “the system” will take care of you into your old age?