The global economic downturn has caused every country to reprioritize their spending. Britain achieved part of their budget reductions through spending less on their health care system, the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS is Britain’s government run, single payer health care provider. Any funding that is given to the NHS is ultimately intended to deliver health care to the people of the UK. Accordingly, funding reductions inevitably result in care reductions.

The NHS already rationed care prior to the economic downturn, but now they will have to ration even more to weather the continued economic malaise. Under new NHS contracts knee and hip surgeries will only be provided when the patient is in “severe pain” and cataracts surgeries (previously approved for one eye) will only be provided when the patient’s vision problems “substantially” effect their ability to work. These procedures are often needed by senior citizens, but children will be affected as well. Under new guidelines the NHS will only pay for a tonsillectomy when a child has 7 occurrences of tonsillitis in the previous year and will pay for grommets to improve children’s hearing after 6 months of examination and “exceptional circumstances”.

It is a widely acknowledged hard reality that all people cannot have all the health care they desire at all times. At some point most people will have to decide to pass on health care – an inevitable reality. The question, then, is posed, “If health care is limited, who decides what care I can have?” Government health care, like the NHS and ObamaCare, puts bureaucrats in charge of deciding what care individuals should and should not get. This model is ineffective, inappropriate, and morally wrong. A government bureaucrat does not have the knowledge to make determinations on what care an individual should get nor do they have the right to deny an individual care. Questions of an individual’s health care ought to be left up to the individual in conjunction with their loved ones and their doctor. Few areas of society are more personal and important as health care, and no free society should try to justify taking the freedom to choose in health care away from individuals.

– Spencer Harris