Thursday, 29 November 2007

An Obvious Outcome

It should come as no surprise that the Wellington DHB is offering $100 shopping vouchers for new mothers who are out of the maternity ward in six hours or less. This overcrowding, and the treating of customers -customers who have paid, whether the Ministry of Health will admit it or not- as cattle, is the inevitable result of a flawed public health system.

Peter Cresswell once said on his blog, regarding the rampant problems our health services face on a daily basis, that a private hospital would love to be 98% full. Yet, no customers would be spared a bed. These are paying customers - not cattle, and they have a mind of their own. Unfortunately, that mind is more often that not confined to the poor quality of the public health system.

The American health system has the highest rate of survival for most operations, including those most common, in the world. There, you expect good service, and on the spot. For any leftist who complains about the price, let them know that "private" and "free market" are two different things. But for many people, the difference between "private" and "public" often means the difference between life and death.

Wellington Hospital's "crisis" mode isn't a crisis; it's now the norm. The mistreatment of patients in a very flawed and problematic system that as Sus, at Sus's Sound-Bites, can't "run a bath, let alone a business"- let alone a hospital.


Rick said...

I don't have much of a problem with this.

Free health care presents no incentive to conserve the resource. That's part of what makes socialised health care so destructive.
Private services are full of choices and incentives, that's their point of difference.
If Mums can stay in hospital at low, or no, cost why wouldn't they be wise to do so at a time like that?

This voucher incentive gives those dining out on socialised medical care a reason to push off, while hardly overwhelming the incentive for those who require the care to risk their health (and baby's) by remain in hospital.

It's economically sound. It's just not politically correct, that's why there's an outcry.

Dr. T said...

It is this kind of personalized care and attention that really makes me want socialized medicine over here in the U.S.

riki said...


it seems rick has been contradicted. there was an outcry.

the initiative has been squashed.

Fortunately it wasn't a govt sponsored bill or there would have been more street protesting.

Maybe in reflection, thats unfortunate.

Callum said...


Under a private health system (without all the regulations that strangle choice), such vouchers would be unnecessary. Customers would vote with their feet. Hospitals would do their utmost to prevent situations like this-customers need to be happy, because that's where the money voluntarily comes from.

Dr. T: do you mean that seriously? Health care services are dysfunctional here, and in other countries where socialized health care exists, such as the UK, most of Europe and Cuba. India, with its private health care system, works much better than that of any other country in the world. And it's India!

Rick said...

it seems Rick has been contradicted. there was an outcry.

That's what I said, you oik. I also told you how come.
Socialism and political correctness contradict me all the time. Reminds me I'm right!

Hospitals would do their utmost to prevent situations like this-customers need to be happy,

Actually, I think costing in the private sector reflects the sort of mechanism the hospitals have attempted to ape here.

The more services you consume, the more you pay.
If you choose to forgoe a warranty when you buy a product there is an incentive cost saved.
If you want to forgoe extra time in a maternity bed it should be the same- and that was what they tried here.

Sus said...

Rick, I take your point re incentives.

But unfortunately with the state hospitals, we're generally starting with an average service at best - and then descending further.

Public hospitals attempting 'initiatives' (pardon me while I cough) is verging on a contradiction in terms.

Where the patient isn't paying per se, the 'choices', such as they are, tend to dwindle pretty quickly. How long before that policy might have become the norm, I wonder, and to hell with any notion of 'choice'?

To be fair though, when the story broke it was mis-reported. There was no mention of its not applying to first-time mothers as was later announced. My own comment was based upon that first report.

Sus said...

And lastly, don't forget that we're all forced to pay for these services anyway, regardless of whether we use them.

So we're all paying for someone else to have her child - and then paying for the bag of nappies to buy the bed in order to do it all again?

Love those taxpayer-funded incentives!

Rick said...

Susan, there's a vibe of disagreement in what you say but nothing to back it up.

Come 'round to my place. If you liked what I said here you'll love this.

Sus said...

Nothing to back it up?

We have a dead child; mother and baby discharged five hours after the birth.

There are many things Wgtn Hosp (and other public hospitals) could be doing to improve its financial situation. Throwing most of the unproductive administrators out - instead of new mothers - would be a start ...

personallydisinterested said...

Wow. Where to start? Socialized medicine is the end result, so we need to find the best way to manage it. Here in the U.S. we will have it very soon. The current system has been completely sabotaged and is dysfuctional. Even the richest people on the planet can't afford 25% increases in medical expenses every year. It is easy to point at our system and say "capitalism has failed". Never mind that the reason for the increased costs in the first place was Medicare followed by colusion of the insurance and pharmaseutical industries. Why would they sabotage their own industry? Guaranteed government payments. Soon, Americans will be forced to pay for private insurance which is subsidised by taxes, then they will still have to pay huge deductibles each year. Basically we will be paying for healthcare twice before we receive it and under the deductible afterwards. If you think your system is bad...wait until you see ours. Along with these wars it will bankrupt our government and drive a whole class of people into poverty. A freemarket makes too much sense. Where in the world can intellegent people go? What if you guys recruit all the libertarians in the world to move to nz? Then we would way out number your socialists. Just an idea.

Rick said...

Nothing to back it up?

It's almost as if you don't even disagree with me at all? Not like you to be unable to make a point.