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Pop quiz. Without clicking the link to see what I’ve cut out, what is this about?

… the scandal over hidden waiting lists at a growing number of […] hospitals (seven so far) — wherein dozens of [people] died while waiting months for vital treatment, and [somebody] covered up the lengthy wait times — should make everyone wonder whether we can place our trust in a government-managed health-care system.

Another mean Daily Mail article lambasting the harworking angels™ of the NHS? Nope. It’s John Fund at the National Review, talking about the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the only part of the US government that owns and runs its own hospitals the way Britain’s does. And – would you believe it? – they have people dying while on waiting lists as well. “Hidden” waiting lists, even.

Fund noticed the similarities too:

In 2012, it was discovered that more than 7,000 patients in just a few Scottish hospitals had been wrongly removed from waiting lists for surgery in order to pretend to meet government targets for treatment. One trick was offering to perform surgery on a date when hospital officials knew a patient would be away on holiday, then dropping the patient from the wait list for “refusing” the date.

Oh yes, I’ve seen that. Or failing to send any notification of the appointment, that’s another good one.

Sarah Boyack, a member of the Scottish Parliament, called the figure of 7,000 “astonishing,” given that “an extra five million pounds [$8 million] has been pumped into the NHS [National Health Service] to help cut the waiting list” in the affected hospitals.

It’s only “astonishing” if you think “underfunding” is the problem – the NHS budget has more than doubled over the last 15 years – rather than a total absence of market pressure or price signals. Long waiting lists, people dying before they have a chance to be treated, and bureaucrats trying to cover these inconveniences up are simply what happens when you get the government to run hospitals. Any government.


  1. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    So the way to be treated is to tell ’em you are on the holiday of a lifetime in Australia when you actually want to be treated!

  2. A very good post.

    If people want socialism (what Americans call Progressivism) in the United States then they can go to prison or an indian reservation – both of which have “free” government services (just like the VA).

  3. Julie near Chicago says:

    Cf. the results when the government throws money at education.

  4. Julie near Chicago says:

    Update, for anyone who missed it: It is reported that Obamacare will not pay for colonoscopies for anyone over age 70. I don’t attest to the reliability of the report (but heck, I wouldn’t do that even if it were signed in ichor by the Sith Itself PLUS Mr. H. Reid etc. etc. etc.); but I do know that I received a notice last month from my supplemental carrier (Blue Cross, if that means anything to folks outside the Province) that I am “over the age limit” at which they cover blood-work. Whether this has anything to do with SithCare I cannot say, but it strikes me as suspicious.

    Don’t anybody worry about me though. Fortunately the amount is not impossibly huge, so I can pay it easily enough by simply cutting out Lucy’s meals for the next 20 years. I’m sure she won’t mind, seeing that she does get a treat when she goes to the vet. :>))

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