The NHS should be fit for us, not us for it

This is a small, note small, reminder of what Hayek was warning us about:

The NHS is being put under intolerable strain by "selfish" partygoers getting "blotto", the head of the health service has warned.

Simon Stevens said the NHS was being treated as the “National Hangover Service” as international research found Britain has one of the worst records for binge drinking, drug taking and sexually transmitted diseases.

The NHS chief executive said services already under heavy pressure were being compromised by those hell bent on hard living.

Not that government provision of health care would immediately turn us into a Soviet state. But that it was indeed going to be a pace or two along that path.

For look what the message is here. We British are not worthy of that National Health Service which government, in its munificence, provides for us. We get ill from the wrong things, we must change our ways so that we can be worthy of the Wonder of the World that it is.

It might be that some form of collective health care provision is a good idea. We can argue about the benefits of government provision, of monopoly, of Stalinist management and so on. But let's lay out what it is that we should really be getting from any such system.

Here's us, the people. We pay a portion of our incomes into this scheme, whatever it is, for health care. That system should thus be treating us of the diseases to which we are subject. That is, the system has to be worthy of us, not we of it.

And if it turns out that we're clap ridden dopehead drunks then that's what the health system we pay for should be treating. Simply because we're paying for a health care system to treat us, not one to offer what some mythically perfect population might theoretically deserve.

Which is where Hayek's point comes in again and where government provision rather fails. Hayek told us that we would be told to buck up and live as the planners think we ought to if they got that control and the very lack of choice means that we don't have the opportunity, by our actions, to change what is provided. Unlike a market system which really does reflect consumer desires because it has to.

The very fact that the NHS is complaining about what actually ails us Brits is what is wrong with the NHS.