I'm always hearing about how the NHS is crumbling all around us and it's because of smokers and fatties and junkies and alkies and dole scroungers and all the rest of it. It is true that the NHS in it's current form is becoming unaffordable and increasing amounts of people I ask "Wouldn't you like to know exactly how much of your tax money is actually spent in the NHS?" give me an emphatic yes. Now there is an argument for abolishing the NHS completely but I don't want to go there in this blog. What I want to ask is: is it time for a voluntary NHS?
Now, I'm sure most people would agree with me that anything not voluntary, anything that is forced upon you against your will is by definition violent and tyrannical. It might sound like I'm overreacting but if I were to say to the government that I didn't believe in the NHS so I wasn't paying taxes for it and because they won't tell me how much of my tax money goes to it it follows that I won't pay any tax at all. That should be my choice but what'll happen is that the government will eventually send thugs to intimidate me to give them my money and eventually their thugs will lock me up for not complying with their rules - an act of violence. But we have to examine health care in this country further with the use of an analogy.
Suppose for example I want to buy a pair of shoes. Imagine that there's the NSC (National Shoe Company) who who give out poor quality shoes for free. Maybe I don't want those shoes. Maybe I want to buy private shoes that are of a better quality but I can't afford it because there isn't much competition to the NSC because everyone has to pay for them anyway. So we all have the same poor quality (but 'free') shoes. Now, it's a silly example but it does illustrate the health care industry in the UK. Now again, we can see one argument may be to just abolish the NSC all together and open the market up, making all the shoes private. That is one possibility but there is another option. What if people who want to give their tax money towards the NSC because they're happy with their shoes can choose to do so and everyone else who want's private shoes can then choose to spend their money on them?
We could have a system so that if you want the 'free' (I should mention that it's not free because you pay for it through taxes) NHS then you can opt-in and the money will come out of your taxes (and you'll know exactly how much it is) and you can still enjoy the NHS system that you're used to. Now, a counter argument I've heard to this is that the rich people who pay higher taxes will all go to, say Bupa for example and the NHS will lose most of it's money and not be able to produce the same level of service. I think that a lot of people on all types of income will decide to stick with the NHS actually. Not only that but with the opening up of the health care market in the UK there will be much more competition and new companies all at varying degrees of price and levels of service popping up.
Another criticism might be "Well, what about people on the dole?" I think people who are receiving short-term assistance could be helped by charities or even the government for a short-period of time. Anyone who read my post entitled "Why The Government Should Abolish Welfare and Reasons Why It Won't." Will know that I don't think that the "life-on-welfare" culture should get any services without putting anything in to the system.
In America there's the farce that is Obamacare. Where people are being forced against their will to buy private health insurance or face being fined for it. Dare I suggest this optional governmental system as an alternative?
I think if anything a voluntary NHS would not only allow people to know what they're putting in financially to the system but it would also be fair. If you believe in the 'national religion' that is the NHS you'll probably get a better service because there'll be less patients for a start. If you want private health care then you'll have more options as the market opens up and competition is allowed to begin and you won't have the problem of paying for the NHS through tax and having very limited private options. But most of all we won't have the NHS armageddon looming over us any more and we won't be forced with threat of violence into paying for it.