Call me old fashioned if you will, but I like the idea that reforms of government activity should be concieved and implemented by experts in the particular field in question. Which makes me wonder, why the hell has Tony Ryall appointed a financial guy, Murray Horn, to lead a ministerial review into the health system? What the hell would he, and other members of the review panel who mostly come from similar backgrounds, know about what makes for an effective health system?
Depends what you mean by effective, I guess.
To you and me, access to healthcare when we need it is a right, that we pay for with our tax dollars. The report (leaked from within the ministry) shows that to Horn et al, healthcare is about ensuring the supply of labour units (that’s ‘people’ to you and me) for business. Making people healthy is only ‘worthwhile’ as long as it means more cheap, effective labour:
“Spending health dollars on improving life expectancy is a worthy objective in itself but it will only be an ‘investment’ in growth if people also work longer.”
Now, it’s a long established part of ranking patients on waiting lists that age counts against you, after all a successful heart op could give a 40 year old another 40 years of life but only a handful to a 80 year old with the same condition. The health system should try to get the most bang for its limited buck. But National’s review goes far further. It says your economic value (to the system, to the bosses, to the god known as growth) is all that should matter.
It even suggests that getting rid of universial healthcare would be preferable, so as not to ‘waste money’ on people who aren’t contributing labour units but admits this is not possible:
“The desire for universal and equal access to tax-funded care makes it difficult to go too far in this direction (eg in favour of people of working age). Increasing the proportion of health-care funded in other ways might help, for example ACC has a strong focus on prevention and rehabilitation for people in the workforce.”
Welcome to healthcare under National. Designed by business, for business. Unless you’re a functional unit of labour, you’re not worth maintaining. Surplus to requirements. On the scrap heap.