Posted Oct 12, 2012 14:23 UTC (Fri) by nix
In reply to: Patently stupid
Parent article: The Patent, Used as a Sword (New York Times)
Sorry for perpetuating this off-topic thread (remaining relevance to patents: basically nil).
In a pure government run system, paying for treatment yourself is not allowed.
Are there any such systems in the Western world? I'm not aware of any. For a long time the NHS had a rule that if you augmented NHS treatment with private treatment, you had to get the lot privately. The idea was to ensure a level playing field, but it caused a sufficiently large political storm when the policy came to light that it was revoked shortly afterwards.
That's why I said that government run systems only work when you have the option to not rely on them.
I don't see how you can come to that conclusion in the absence of any examples of your 'pure government-run systems' in modern economies. You are fighting against a man made not of straw but of vacuum.
I might also point out that in the UK at least, most people who can afford private medicine still don't use it because they trust the NHS more. (The NHS is one of the most trusted organizations in the country, certainly far more so than the politicians who are its nominal bosses). In any case, as I mentioned above, particularly serious or complex conditions would probably get bounced to an NHS facility and NHS staff in any case, because only they have the scale to deal with them.
The NHS has lots of problems, including perennial shortage of funds, but I don't see how you could say that it only works because of the existence of private facilities. Indeed when the NHS recently tried to rely on private facilities to do some of its more routine surgical work for it, it generally didn't work, with contracts mandating payment for operations whether or not they are ever carried out, a frighteningly high percentage of botched operations, and so forth. (This caused a pretty big scandal and a lot of severely indebted NHS trusts.)
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