Monday 14 March 2011

The Public Health Drive To Abolish The NHS Going To Plan

It was interesting to hear and read (as dutifully reported by Nanny Beeb, naturally) of the spoiled tantrum thrown by the temperance coalition this morning. Nothing unexpected considering a decision appears to have been made to push for pariah status for alcohol producers if one reads between the lines of recent reports. VGIF has nicely filleted the idea of government being shunned by organisations which take their funding from ... err, the government, so little more needs to be said on that.

It is, however, very odd that so many toys are being thrown out of so many prams when their goal of crippling the NHS is going so well.

"Say what, Dick! How do you work that one out?"

Glad you asked. Well, one must surely wonder why it is in the interests of private health insurer, PruHealth, to commission studies like this.

Almost one in three people believe those with health problems caused by alcohol, obesity and smoking should pay extra for their care.

Those with 'self inflicted' health worries should not rely just on the NHS but should be forced to pay for their lifestyles, they say.

The study found that some 69 per cent of people are in favour of adults taking more responsibility for their own health, with just 19 per cent thinking responsibility lies solely with the NHS.
See, this is denormalisation in action. The perception has been fostered in the public that such lifestyle choices are anti-social and a drain on resources. Other people should be made to pay for their treatment.

Except for the fact that anyone who pays national insurance payments, or sumptuary taxes, have already paid. To extract more money from those people would mean making them to pay twice for their healthcare. I can see some pretty interesting test cases being brought should such a scheme ever be implemented.

And the great thing about those potential cases is that it only takes one to punch a massive - and possibly fatal - hole in NHS funding. Should it be judged that the public are of the understanding that their NI contributions are their consideration in a healthcare contract with the state (and why wouldn't it be seeing as NI was introduced for that very purpose?), further charging will have to be abandoned or - and this would be bloody fantastic - NI payments would become something one could opt out of.

OK, we know that NI is now just another tax going into the pot, but charging extra for certain patients would starkly illustrate to everyone in the country that NI isn't what they naïvely believed it was, and that they are subject to two different forms of damaging income tax; that the state is dipping into their pockets and thieving from them on a daily basis, and has been for a very long time.

I'm pretty sure PruHealth are well aware of such a scenario, too. They are perfectly au fait with the true actuarial risk of insuring those with 'unapproved' lifestyles - unlike politicians who are blinded by junk stats cascading down on them from fake charities, vested interests, and good old-fashioned greed-motivated rent-seekers - and would be quite happy to cater for the many who would redirect their NI contributions to a private provider.

The poor would lose out, of course, since the NHS would suffer greatly once net contributors jumped ship while those who don't pay into the system remained entitled to free healthcare. But hey, we don't make the rules, do we?

If PruHealth had asked the same people how many of them would wish to see a privatised NHS, the response would probably be quite vitriolically against, yet not many are seemingly able to recognise that charging for lifestyle choices holds the very real danger of ushering in exactly that.

So, why wouldn't PruHealth be fanning the flames of denormalisation ... it's a potential gold mine for them.

And, on the PruHealth study's evidence, every vindictive pronouncement from the public health lobby brings that day of NHS break-up ever nearer.


Anonymous said...

If the NHS ever had the effrontery to charge those with 'lifestyle induced conditions', such as smoking or drinking, what's the betting they wouldn't be charging joggers with knackered knees, weekend footballers with broken ankles and gay men whose acquisition of HIV through unsafe anal sex can hardly have come as a surprise to them.

Anonymous said...

"Almost one in three people believe those with health problems caused by alcohol, obesity and smoking should pay extra for their care."

Note the priority arrangement of the words in the study's opening line.

Alcohol has now moved to top spot with the obesity "epidemic" coming in second.

Apparently anti-smoking is not as profitable a rent-grabbing ploy as it has been up till now and they're reshuffling the deck to re-prioritize new money earners to the top of their list.

Drinkers and eaters - beware.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon @ 20:25: If we're talking about reading between the lines, I liked this bit.

"More than half say obesity is one of the greatest health challenges facing the UK, yet only 9 per cent list it as their top personal concern."

All I can say by way of comment is ... Baaa! ;)

Anonymous said...

Tobacco Funds Shrink as Obesity Fight Intensifies - NYT 2010

"When the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation decided in 1991 to take on Joe Camel, it became the nation’s largest private funding source for fighting smoking."

"But a few years ago, the Johnson foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., added another target to its mission, pledging to spend $500 million in five years to battle childhood obesity.

As the antiobesity financing rose to $58 million last year, a new compilation from the foundation shows, the organization’s antismoking grants fell to $4 million."

"The steep drop-off in private funds illustrates the competition under way for money as public health priorities shift.

In the race for preventive health care dollars, from charities and from federal and state government sources, the tobacco warriors have become a big loser"

Anonymous said...

George Soros has given money to RWJF in order to conduct studies on how best to introduce euthanasia. I think he and RWJF may be hoping to make euthanasia as common as abortion. RWJF is on the cutting edge on how to control peoples' lives, and deaths too, if they can get away with it.

Anonymous said...

You think you have problems!! Here in California (Smoker's Hell) they now want to tax you if you get into an automobile accident. And don't all these great trends get started here! The link...