What Could Possibly Go Wrong with Government Controlled Healthcare

If you live in Britain, I hope you weren’t scheduled to undergo a “non-urgent” surgery because the National Health Service (NHS) has ordered all hospitals to cancel such appointments:

Every hospital in the country has been ordered to cancel all non-urgent surgery until at least February in an unprecedented step by NHS officials.

The instructions on Tuesday night – which will see result in around 50,000 operations being axed – followed claims by senior doctors that patients were being treated in “third world” conditions, as hospital chief executives warned of the worst winter crisis for three decades.

Let the government control healthcare, they said. It’ll be better, they said.

With the wave of a hand the NHS has determined what is urgent and what isn’t urgent. If it deemed your health issue not to be urgent, then you just got tossed out of the system until at least February. If it deemed your health issue to be urgent, then you just found yourself put at the front of the line. I’m sure those in the former category are perturbed while those in the latter category are cheering the miracle of government controlled healthcare.

This is the issue with allowing government to control healthcare. With a single decree the government can shuffle around everything. It can determine that your condition isn’t critical and cancel your appointments. It can determine that you don’t live a healthy enough lifestyle and are therefore a burden on the system and thus no longer covered by it (but you’ll still pay your taxes towards the healthcare system). When the government controls healthcare it gets to decide matters related to your health, not you. Fortunately, medical tourism is a thing. Those who just found their appointments canceled can still travel to East Asia to get the operation they need for a reasonable price. However, the British government won’t credit those individuals on their taxes even though it failed to deliver the service it promised in return for those taxes. Tough break.