I got sent a link to this earlier today by my girlfriend. She asked my opinion on it, and I thought it would make an interesting blog post - something I haven't really done enough of recently. I read the main article, and the comments, and will comment on both.
Unfortunately, everything in this life costs money. Other than in a perfectly communist system, this is always going to be the case. This includes healthcare. We all have a limited amount of money in our bank accounts. This means that we can't afford everything we want. I have to prioritise the things that I want for the things I can afford.
Governments have the same problem, only they have a much larger budget, and a much larger number of expenses to prioritise. The obvious arguement is that if one life can be saved by a drug that costs £3000, or 100 lives can be saved by a drug that costs £30, then given a limited amount of cash, the decision is obvious. This is a simplification, but it demonstrates the point that there is a limited amount of money available, and that it is important to do the greatest good with the limited resources available.
Someone on the forum, it was suggested that this problem could be solved by taking the money from other budgets. Now, whilst I agree that there are a lot of inefficiencies in nationalised systems, such as the NHS, I'm not sure that cutting their budget is the best way to solve these. I feel for a start that efficiency might be increased by paying significantly more to the top level managers - by paying the top wages, we might entice the best managers into these positions, and therefore counterintuitively increase efficiency.We could fund these increased wages by streamlining the management system, and eliminating the excess managers. This would mean that the same budget is paying for a better system. What it doesn't do is free up any money to transfer to any other budget, perhaps the budget for medications.
So, if we can't redistribute NHS money, where else can we get the money from?
How about the education system? I don't think anyone thinks that that is worthy of a reduced budget? Sanitation? Transport? Reducing funding to either of those is going to stretch the NHS even more as people catch diseases, ambulances break down on dodgy roads, more people crash......etc.
We all wish that treatment could be provided to all people regardless of cost, but this just isn't possible.