What’s happened to England’s rugby team this autumn is obviously not just about money. But it’s an excellent example of something free marketeers often ignore, but that research proves: that adopting a market system does encourage people to think about cash and their individual wellbeing.
Indeed this is very true. Market incentives do change behaviour.
Now imagine a healthcare system in which the sick are treated by staff increasingly encouraged by successive governments to see themselves as providers in a market. Care doesn’t necessarily get worse, but it does change – and in ways that patients might not like.
Yes, indeed, let us think of this.
So, let us ponder the English rugby team of 2011. Let us compare it to the England rugby team of 1991, when it was indeed still an amatuer (hmm, OK, shamatuer) game.
Let us place the England team of 2011 on the field against the England team of 1991. We’ll use a time machine to bring the old team here at their playing ages, not their current ones. But everything else stays the same: fitness levels, tactics, training periods, etc.
Who will win? I think we know the answer to that, don’t we? The 2011 team will walk all over the 1991 team. Heck, I’d back the 2011 Italian team to walk all over the 1971 Lions, let alone the Welsh 2011 to beat the glory days of 70s Welsh rugby.
So, the quality of output has increased in this move to market incentives: and we expect what to happen as we introduce market incentives into health care?
Well, I for one would expect the quality of output to rise to similar to those other health care systems that have a modicum of market incentives in them. You know, the French, German etc etc, health care systems?
Do note, perfectly willing to agree that one can go too far: relying entirely upon private health insurance as in the US system seems not to work so well. Relying upon private health savings accounts plus government run catastrophic health insurance (roughly the Singapore model) seems to work extremely well.
All markets all the time markets is not the solution to every problem we as humans encounter. But a fit of the vapours over some markets some of the time markets, where such has been proven to work elsewhere, is not the solution to any of the problems we as humans encounter.