Could medical savings accounts provide the escape from runaway healthcare costs?
Many countries with private health insurance schemes -- the US, Singapore, even South Africa -- have developed the medical savings account idea as an escape from runaway healthcare costs. The idea is to allow insurance, public or private, to concentrate on providing against the big, unpredictable and costly healthcare needs, but to ensure that everyone has access to savings that can be used to provide for the smaller, routine, more everyday healthcare costs.
Before Britain joins the Euro the five economic tests must be passed. Chancellor Gordon Brown declared in June 2003 that four of the five tests had been failed. He was satisfied that British entry would not damage financial services in Britain, but was not happy about employment or investment. Nor was there sufficient convergence or flexiblity.
Here's an interesting statistic: Our dear government is spending our money at the rate of £9.57 per hour for every working man and woman in Britain*. That's twice the National Minimum Wage. Think of it, a burger-flipper earns £4.50 per hour and Gordon spends a further £9.57. A dear government indeed. But do not despair, the Tories have promised to bring that down to £9.11 per hour by 2006**. Hooray for them.
Reform of the welfare state has been a strong theme in public policy pronouncements over recent years. Much of the pressure for reform has come from a burgeoning social security budget and, partly as a result of measures taken and partly as a result of substantial reductions in unemployment in the later 1990s, expenditure growth has fallen back of late. Underlying pressures for increased spending remain, however, and budgets will likely grow more quickly again when the effects of falling unemployment wear off.
Mid-February 2001, and the Prime Minister proposes that we should start an investment account for every child in Britain. A baby bond' that would be invested and would grow. And perhaps even added to over the years in order to give every Brit a useful cash sum at 18. That could help them fund their higher education, or special health needs, or housing costs, or could be rolled into a pension for their retirement. Great new idea, or what?
The police might think it important to arrest those who use force to defend their property, or to enforce motoring laws such as speed limits, or to offer counselling to crime victims, but these are rated the least important priorities by the general public, according to the Adam Smith Institute's MORI poll, published as The Wrong Package.
All over the world, public court systems are under pressure. This can mean lengthy delays for litigants, which increases the worry, frustration, and cost for both sides in a dispute.
State-run prisons suffer from the familiar problems of other public-sector institutions that face no competition: inadequate supply, poor quality and high cost. All too often, prisons are schools for crime. Many of them suffer from serious problems associated with over-crowding, poor sanitation, violence, drugs and sexual assault. Prison warders have become a powerful vested interest, exerting undue influence over prison policy.
A series of factsheets that examine the need, and methods of implementation, for urban road user charging.
Despite a supportive government and half a century of above inflation inflation increases, the National Health Service is still under strain. In the past few weeks alone, doctors have critised it for long waiting times, diagnostic mistakes and it's poor record of treating heart disease, cancer and other serious diseases. Everyone accepts that we need to upgrade ond modernise Uk healthcare. But to do that most effectively we must develop a wider involvement in the process, with real partnerships between the NHS, the private sector and the patients themselves.