Friday 9 March 2012

I just wrote to my MP asking him to block the Health and Social Care Bill

Like the title says, I just wrote to my MP asking him to block the Health and Social Care Bill. I don't expect much. He is a Tory golden boy lawyer who spent years as a wonk in Dominic Grieve's office. But he's my MP now (since 2010) and he's all I've got. My MP is Dominic Raab for Esher and Walton. So here's what I said to him:

Dear Mr Raab,

I have just read this report today in the BMJ and I have grave concerns: It outlines very clearly how proposed reforms could be used to create a health care system comparable to that of the United States. Mr Raab, I come from the United States. I've seen how that system works. It is a mess. In 2007 it is estimated that some 61% of all US bankruptcies were of a medical nature. This was at a time when health care spending accounted for 16% of the country's GDP. This is not a good system. It is costly and fails to deliver care to those who need it most. This is because insurer underwritten health plans account for their service spending as medical costs. The costs are to be kept as low as possible; therefore, the insurers will use any means to avoid paying for medical treatments. People who believe themselves to be adequately insured suddenly find that their medically necessary treatment is not covered for one reason or another. People have incurred costs in the tens of thousands of dollars and lost their homes through mortgage defaults. This is bad for the economy.

The proposed reforms to the NHS are supposed to save the government money, but in the long run they will probably not achieve their stated objectives and will end up costing us all a lot more. A single payer system such as what we currently have is less costly to manage because it does not have the overhead of insurance underwriting. I ask that you please do whatever you can to block this bill. Hardly anyone wants it. It seems to be ideologically motivated, and there is absolutely no mandate for it. The NHS is a national treasure. It is probably the single greatest British achievement since the second world war. Please do the right thing. Thank you.

Best regards,
Matt Flaherty
(et cetera)

I'll let you know what sort of response I get.

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