February 8, 2013

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: British Hospital Carnage a Window into US Future.

The scandal surrounds a recent hospital report’s findings that Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire ignored even the most basic standards of treatment to disastrous, and disgusting, effect. . . .

As the piece goes on to explain, the hospital’s actions sprung from its single-minded pursuit of cost control. It drastically reduced its operating budget in hopes of qualifying for foundation-trust status, a legal category that would grant it more freedom from central government control. It’s a textbook case of how structural incentives in government-dominated health care systems can lead to terrible outcomes.

Blue model partisans claim that the American health care system is one of the worst in the world in terms of bang for the buck. Many single-payer systems are indeed cheaper than ours, but this is only half the story, and this new report suggests that the other half of the story—quality of care—isn’t always as rosy as official metrics show.

Expect problems like this to crop up in the U.S. as Obamacare moves us further down the road of wonk-based health care, with well-intentioned, top-down reforms that sow chaos across a complex system.

Related: Obamacare Fail: CBO Predicts Drops in Health Coverage.

When Obama took to the stump for health care reform, one promise came through loud and clear: “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.” That promise is officially about to be broken, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Millions of employees will soon be dropped from health insurance coverage as new provisions of the law go into effect. . . . The CBO also projected that 5 million fewer people will gain health insurance coverage over the next decade than originally expected.

Expiration date, reached.

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