Medical socialism is the situation in which public funds - taxed dollars, other government money - are used to pay medical costs. It is the end state of increasing regulation, in which politicians - having generated regulatory laws over the years that, whatever the original intent, ensure poor service, high prices and misery - answer cries for change by greatly expanding government control over the provision of medical services. The spiral down continues from there. You'd almost think that most people have already forgotten what happened to the Soviet Union and those forced to live their lives in that prison, the ugly final resting place of a centrally controlled culture.
In a free market, unmolested by regulation, the provision of services is subject to competition - and the review and quality assessment of services is also subject to competition. Poor service providers and poor reviewers fail quickly. You, as the buyer, have the ultimate power: choice. In a socialist system, you have no power, because you have no choice. Poor provision of services spreads and prospers at your expense.
In a free market, participants can adjust their investment, production and efficiency at every level through the essential feedback mechanism of price. This allows bad investments to be ruthlessly rooted out, maximizing progress and choice. In a socialist system, price signals are so distorted that bad investments grow. Political patronage rewards the few at the cost of the many; slow progress and bad goods are the norm. Worse, there is no way to assign scarce goods - and the investment necessary to make more of them - through the mechanism of pricing. The result is shortages of essentials, gluts of the useless, and rationing.
There is no free lunch. The resources for your medical services must come from somewhere; someone must pay the price. You do not live in a truly free market. Remember that.
But back to the choice. In the European socialist systems today, the most glaring costs are rationing and the absence of choice - and the suffering and death that results. Under what system would you rather live when you fall seriously ill? The one in which faceless bureaucrats decide you are not cost effective, or the one in which you had the opportunity to have saved money or buy simple insurance, giving you the power to make your own medical decisions in a market of competitors eager to give you good value?
Nice chief executive Andrew Dillon said: "Alzheimer's is a cruel and devastating illness and we realise that today's announcement will be disappointing to people with Alzheimer's and those who treat and care for them.
"But we have to be honest and say that, based on all the evidence, including data presented by the drug companies themselves, our experts have concluded that these drugs do not make enough of a difference for us to recommend their use for treating all stages of Alzheimer's disease.
"We have recommended the use of these drugs where they have the potential to make a real difference, which is at the moderate stage of the illness."
Professor Roy Jones, director of the Research Institute for the Care of Elderly at St Martin's Hospital, Bath, said: "I am going to be put in the unethical and difficult position of saying, 'I'm sorry, you must come back when you are worse'."
Think about this. What does it say about the society in which you live: that the most basic choices in treatment for serious, life-threatening age-related disease are made for you by someone who cares nothing for your welfare, will never meet you, and whose decisions you cannot influence. There is a better way, you know.
Dr Kay, a consultant rheumatologist at the Freeman Hospital and Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, said: “Nearly half of the consultants (46%) indicated that they had some form of limitation in their prescribing of anti-TNF agents for RA according to NICE guidance. Of these, 70% said these limitations were mainly in the form of capped funding or capped numbers of patients; staffing or lack of other facilities was a problem for 21% and 9% respectively.
“The consultants said they faced problems such as a fixed number of patients that they were allowed to treat each month, fixed financial caps, bans on treating any more patients until the next financial year, and the fact that different primary care trusts had different financial limits. Waiting lists were also a means of controlling access to treatment, with some patients waiting as long as 156 weeks.”
The nationalized health services of Europe are a more obvious socialism than what is presently happening in the US, via encroachment of schemes like Medicare and what is misleadingly called "health insurance" (more accurately viewed as highly regulated, inefficient health plans). The end result is the same: a web of regulation and socialized costs that chokes the marketplace, distorts price signals, reduces quality and rations availability. And once you choke the commercial side of medicine, you have choked investment in research; investors will depart - and have been, and are, departing - for greener fields in other industries.
This is not the world to be living in when our future is so dependant on advances and competition in research and development of medical technology. So what are we going to do about it?
Economic ignorance, willful or otherwise, is the death of cultures. The systematic destruction of incentives for progress - engineered by those who do not care to realize they are pulling the house down around their ears - will be the death of you and I as well if it continues. If we permit the ignorant to rule over medicine and medical research, destroying it in the process, then we deserve our fate
Why put your life and health into the hands of people who have no interest in helping you? Why think that socialism in medicine will work this time, when it has failed miserably everywhere else? As time moves on, those of us reading this now will become increasingly reliant on the new medical technologies of healthy life extension for health and longevity. If the future of medicine is socialist, then we won't be seeing much of that future - the destruction socialism and centralized, regulated systems bring to research and progress will see to that.