Startling Half Century Old Health Care Quote

“Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought. He is considered to be one of the most important economists and political philosophers of the twentieth century, winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1974.”

This great economist had very specific thoughts about Britain’s National Health Service more than a half century ago when it was formed. 

“…from what I have seen of the British national health service, my doubt and skepticism has rather been increased.  No doubt that in the short run it provides services to people who otherwise would not have got it, but that it impedes the progress of medical services…that there as much as anywhere else competition is an essential condition of progress..!”

And a frightening further elaboration…”and it’s particularly bad because while most people in Britain dislike it, everybody agrees it can never be reversed.” 

Britain’s National Health Care System was created in 1948 and validating Professor Hayek’s eerie comments more than half a century ago, it would appear that it “can never be reversed”. 

It is often referred to in today’s U.S. debate on health care.  In fact, Dr. Donald Berwick, the highly controversial and current and hotly debated head of our Medicare and Medicaid program (CMS) has been quoted as “I am romantic about National Health Service. I love it (because it is) ‘generous, hopeful, confident, joyous and just.’” This might well be true, but most American’s would not agree that weeks long queues, lack of options and selections and difficulty accessing specialists are not what they want to endure.  Perhaps this is why many British citizens purchase private health care plans and “opt out” of the NHS.  Shouldn’t American’s have that same option?