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Thursday, September 30, 2010

British Medical Association critical of plans to change NHS

A recent article carried by the BBC said that the leading British medicinal group, the British Medical association disapproved of proposed changes to the British National Health Service. The article states that in a statement today the BMA claimed that “The forthcoming shake-up of the NHS in England could undermine its "stability and future". While the British government insisted the changes were necessary towards improving the service.

In the Article the doctors of the BMA claimed that some of the changes could expose the NHS to more private competition, thus endangering the patients of the NHS. This is interesting to note because unlike in the United States, where apparently a majority of Americans oppose a national single payer system. In Britain it is seen as a must for good health care. The British government provides the NHS because it is seen as a good or service that the government would best provide and not something that should be left to the open market. SO is the NHS a public good?

I believe it is certainly non-excludible, since all Britons are entitled to care by the service. But is it Non-rivalrous? I believe that it is not simply because one cannot expect that they can get the same level of care as someone else, because they have the same insurance. Some hospitals and doctors are better than others, and once a resource, such as a bed or a liter of blood are used on one patient, they cannot be used on another. So believe that the NHS is not a public good but a common good.


The property of excludability or non-excludability is not something government can choose. Rather, it is a "technical" characteristic of the good. It is of the physical nature of the good.

Your analysis is that the good in question is nonexcludable because government has decided not to exclude. But, this is not what we are looking for with respect to the definition of a public good.

In my view, health care is both excludable and rival, as is health care insurance.
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