Friday, September 15, 2006

Subsidy Economics 101

To hear the political advocates talk about it, you'd think the economy had a sadistic grudge against twenty-somethings, torturing them with spiking college prices, burning housing markets, and crushing health care costs. We've got "the worst of all worlds" for young adults, declared the moderator at a recent New America Foundation forum. "Problems in the labor market, enormous problems with paying for education, and a level of economic risk that previous generations really didn't encounter."....

Finally, there is the famously skyrocketing cost of health care. Its cause is no mystery. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in 2002 nearly 46 percent of personal health care expenditures were covered by the government, and after insurance only about 14 percent were covered directly by patients. That's right: the people demanding the treatments picked up only 14 cents of every dollar spent on them. So long, economizing!

Generation X and Y spokespersons probably understand what's going on: when government subsidizes purchases, prices go up. So why do they insist on blaming the economy for young adults' woes rather than the government policies -- and the baby boomer parents -- that created them? Because twenty- and thirty-somethings want the same subsidies their parents got.

Unfortunately, politicians are hungry for new constituents, and they seem prepared to meet the demands of the young. Indeed, only a few weeks ago the Democratic Leadership Council introduced the American Dream Initiative, proposing that the federal government spend $150 billion over ten years to entice states to keep college prices down (read: dump their costs onto state taxpayers), and create a $3,000 tax credit for post-secondary training. The initiative also promises universal health care for children -- a boon for young parents -- and lower patient costs for prescription drugs.

Twenty-something activists, of course, want all of these benefits. But to get them, they have to blame the economy, not the government, for their troubles. Otherwise, at the very least they'd eventually have to explain to their own children why they knowingly saddled them with burdens even bigger than their own.



One in seven GP surgeries is "not fit for purpose", a survey has suggested. The problem is getting worse and putting key policies such as moving care into the community in jeopardy, the GP magazine, Pulse, said. Some 1,092 premises out of more than 7,000 across the UK were below minimum standards, its survey found.

The government said premises were getting better as 1 billion pounds was being invested in upgrading GP surgeries and health centres. Three out of five of the 175 primary care organisations which oversee GP practices said at least one of their GP premises was inadequate.

London was by far the worst affected area in the UK, with 522 premises deemed unfit by the capital's 31 primary care trusts. In some areas, such as Bromley, Lewisham and Havering, almost all premises were not fit for purpose. In England, Birmingham, Bristol and Bradford were also badly affected and in Scotland, Grampian and Ayrshire and Arran were the worst hit.

The results are nearly double official figures which show 600 premises are unfit. Pulse said if its figures were extrapolated to all primary care organisations in the UK, the real total would be nearer 1,500 of 10,300 GP premises. The magazine said doctors had said they could raise the capital required to build new premises, but NHS bodies could not afford the rent on them.

Jo Haynes, editor of Pulse, said: "GPs want to take on more work from hospitals and to provide more services for patients from their surgeries. "But they are being prevented from doing so because the government refuses to invest the comparatively small amount of money to enable primary care organisations to fund new premises."

Dr Peter Holden, of the British Medical Association's GPs' committee, said the results were further evidence that the Department of Health was "spending peanuts on premises". "This means GPs cannot take on the broader role that is possible in primary care, delivering services at a fraction of the cost of secondary care. "It's complete short-termism, as usual."

Health Minister Lord Warner said premises were getting better as 1 billion pounds was being invested in GP surgeries and health centres under the Lift programme, a public-private partnership. He also said the government was helping the NHS open 125 new health centres - a rate of expansion that "rivals Tesco". He added: "We will go on investing in better premises for primary care and community services, but in ways that benefit patients."



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

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1 comment:

backcare said...

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Chinese acupuncture practitioner had almost been accused for website’s ads in Bristol

Dr Zhentong Han is a Chinese registered acupuncturist with twenty years of clinical experience. He is very popular among the patients in the area with outstanding technique. The appointments for him in the clinic in Bradford were always full, however, at Bristol, another place where he set up his business; there were troubles from the competitions in the same field.

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Dr Han claimed that he regretted deeply for the matter, but he didn’t want to get involved in this legal dispute, for the purpose of having a website is not to score high on the network, but to have more patients understand the most veracious Chinese traditional acupunctural techniques through his website, so to help more patients get rid of the pain.

Bristol Chinese Pain relief Acupuncture