Lives are being lost, and the people who are saving lives are not being given the tools to do the job. Such is the result of the rationing of health care, which is precisely how government health care is delivered.
Without a market there's just no other way of determining who gets what -- and with all of us taxed to hell to pay for the die-while-you-wait health system, there's just no way of getting a real market up and running. In a rationed system, there's only so much to go around, and basic service is all you can expect.
Let's look at Gardasil, the vaccine that promises to guard against cervical cancer. Figures produced by Cathy van Miert suggests the current incidence (new cases per year) of cervical cancer in NZ is 14 per 100,000 women - and one in three will die from the disease. The cost for each course of vaccines is about $600. Looked at as an expense you might consider yourself, as say compared to a holiday in Fiji, or a new iPhone -- or compared to that extra tax you've had to pay this year, or the higher mortage payments due to Alan Bollard's meddling, or what you might pay for insurance -- that doesn't seem an unreasonable investment for yourself or a loved one.
But for the government to save one life would cost $5,217,120! That's the figure a government looks at when deciding what to fund (check out Cathy's figures for the calculation), and for them your life is just another statistic. That's just the way rationed health systems work.
So if you're opposed to the decisions not to fund these drugs, and the next generation of life-saving drugs, then I suggest you rethink your support for a tax-and-spend government-delivered health system. If you don't like the results of rationing, then may I suggest you advocate getting the government out of health care so you can make your own decisions about what you value most. (And those of you who don't like being treated by foreign doctors? I suggest you ask yourself why so many NZ doctors and researchers who've trained here prefer instead to work overseas -- a clue might be that when there's no markets there's no way to determine what someone's services are worth. )
D'you think it might be the same reason that life-saving treatments are rationed? As PJ O'Rourke quipped during the American debate about public-private health care, if you think health care is expensive when it's private, you should see how much it costs when it's "free"! The cost here at home will be paid in women's lives.
UPDATE: But, you say, health care isn't a business - or shouldn't be! Well, says Richard Ralston,
Ultimately all health care is paid for by business activity. Business provides the wages, the return on investment, the insurance, the taxes that pay directly for health care, and the insurance and taxes that fund government programs. When the government manages to provide services at all, it can give you nothing that it does not take from you or others, or from your employer and other employers. The total added value the government creates for your benefit is nothing.But we can't allow profits into health care, can we? Well, as Richard Ralston explains here, profits lower the cost of health care in the long run.
But we don't want the Americanisation of NZ's health system, do we? Well, consider that America is where many of our NZ-trained doctors and health researchers would either like to end up, or have already ended up. They've already made their choice, and are doing so in larger numbers every year.
Think about it.