Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dismantling the welfare state

Health tourism is fast becoming a UK growth industry due to the gradual dismantling by stealth of the British National Health Service. On April 1 the government changed the arrangement for dentistry in the NHS, including a new charging system. Unfortunately it was not an April fool.

Dental practices receive less funding and consequently offer patients a reduced service, encouraging them to move from being NHS patients onto a fee-paying dental plan. Health care in "Socialist" Britain remains free but is increasingly becoming unavailable. Many dentists no longer accept NHS patients. For those NHS patients still on their list they are reducing their level of service. Whilst schools tell children about the need to see a dentist regularly, dentists are telling their patients that instead of twice a year they can no only be seen once a year unless they want to pay the full cost of the second check-up.

As in many other fields, Britain is mimicking the American model. If you have private health insurance you receive treatment, if you don't you shouldn't be alive anyway. The pension debate is going in the same direction. If you have a private pension you might be able to retire with a liveable income, if not you will have to work longer and end up with less. Government wants ever more taxes and reduce its return to the taxpayer ever more. The balance goes to the banks to whom the government is indebted.

Ibn Khaldun's statement that at the beginning of a dynasty it collects a large return from small tax assessments whereas as it becomes more corrupt it ends up collecting a small return from large assessments most certainly holds true. We in the Western hemisphere live at the end of a corrupt dynasty. It can only get worse, to paraphrase Labour's election song.

Meanwhile the middle classes vote with their feet and abandon dental practices in the UK altogether. Instead they book a cheap airline ticket for treatment in Eastern Europe at greatly reduced prices. What does it matter that the dentist or doctor abroad only speaks a basic English? Most practitioners at home in the UK are foreigners anyway.


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