Investor’s Business Daily: In Socialized Medicine, Everyone Is A Doctor

Or. at least they’d like for them to be:

In Socialized Medicine, Everyone Is A DoctorPosted 1/3/2008

Health Reform: The British have found a way to shorten those long, annoying waits for care and lower the rising costs of their universal access system. They’ll let patients take care of themselves.

The London Telegraph reported Tuesday that the British government has a “plan to save billions of pounds from the NHS budget.” But it won’t come without enormous pain.

“Instead of going to a hospital or consulting a doctor, patients will be encouraged to carry out ‘self-care’ as the Department of Health tries to meet Treasury targets to curb spending,” the Telegraph explained.

So when is a universal health care system not actually universal? When Britain’s 60-year-old National Health Service can no longer support the weight of its clamoring clientele….

The NHS, though, is hoping to cut down on more than frivolous visits. It’s looking for patients with “arthritis, asthma and even heart failure” to treat themselves, the Telegraph said.

I am a tremendous advocate of people taking care of themselves, and taking control of their own lives and destinies.  I wonder, though, if these are the target populations that are overutilizing the system, or if this isn’t a relatively subtle way of rationing care a little more for those with chronic conditions, the ones that modern medicine can keep alive (in the most basic meaning of the term) for longer and longer times.  For instance patients with CHF used to die relatively quickly (18 months comes to mind), but now with modern medications and AICD’s these patients can live for years.

Color me skeptical.