Now, That's What a Government Takeover of Healthcare Looks Like

November 18, 2010

Doctors in England are being encouraged to fire their office staffs, to be replaced with call-center drones. Could it happen here?

 

Although I don’t I believe that the so-called Obamacare represents a total government takeover of healthcare, I can certainly see why some worry about the proverbial camel’s nose in healthcare’s tent. In Great Britain, where all healthcare is provided via the National Health Service, primary care physicians today were told to get ready to fire their entire back-office staffs while a plan is readied to have all patients make appointments via massive regional call centers.

Docs there are hopping mad, judging by their commentary on the Web site of Pulse, a sister publication of ours in the UK. As Amanda Lloyd says: “What a pile of nonsense! Our admin do not merely book appointments, this just goes to show that these people have no idea how GP healthcare centres are run or what people do. This is just going to scare the staff and destablise the NHS community once again.” By my favorite comment comes from a fellow named David Iles: “Whom is the twit that suggested this brainwave??” Whom is the twit, indeed.

What do you think? No one is suggesting setting up a White House switchboard to handle your incoming calls (not yet, anyway), but no one was suggesting that in 1946, when the Brtish NHS was established, either. No one doubts that American healthcare is moving in the direction of more centralization and greater government control. The question is whether that is a good thing, or at least a necessary one. In any case, do you think we might ever see the likes of this level of government oversight? Can you imagine the day when Uncle Sam is making your staffing decisions and answering your phone?