Why ration Healthcare?

A little while ago when Tony Blair was injecting cash into the NHS there was a failure to recognise what was needed in the longer term.A CIVITAS report from 2000 outlined the likely longer term outcomes of a failure to ration overtly.

“……the National Plan rejects the experience of other countries with the extraordinary assertion that their systems ‘do not provide a better route to health care’. This misses the point. All systems are imperfect. Neither social insurance, nor tax funding, nor private health insurance, nor supplementary coverage alone will provide the solution to the problems of healthcare funding and performance. In effect, there is no such thing as The Solution. One size no longer fits all, if indeed it ever did. The complexity of modern society demands a multiplicity of partial solutions for different circumstances, flexible enough to change as circumstances alter. The adherence of the National Plan to system purity implies a risk that it will in practice be no more than a ‘stopgap’ measure in the ineluctable march of British health care towards rationing. What is needed is a less doctrinaire, less politically correct and more flexible approach involving plurality of funding and choice, as well as the adaptation of some of the more successful features of international experience to British conditions and preferences. Today, there is an evident lack of political will by both government and the British public to move in these directions.”


“…In the battle between insatiable demand and limited resources, healthcare rationing is inevitable. Perhaps we should pause at this point. Is demand really insatiable? How limited are the resources of rich countries? And might the inevitability of healthcare rationing actually be evitable?”


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