Socialised healthcare means socialised health — what else did you expect?
Most people in this country delegate their healthcare to the most fabulously Byzantine and staggeringly expensive insurance scheme ever conceived. Yet because the National Health Service (NHS) — unlike most insurance schemes — can influence government policy-making, it can also force you to change the way you live, whether you use it or not.
Reflecting the occasional, shocking inefficiency with which government operates, many voters tend to demand the state make some token efforts at giving taxpayers value for money. Costs must be cut. While much of this can be realised by firing a few middle managers, sometimes efficiencies come from tackling the root causes of social ills.
This means you.
The more economically astute may point out that making people healthier actually costs the NHS more in the long run — a short burst of heart attack or cancer care in your 50s being cheaper than decades of expensively managed decline, apparently. Yet the idea that keeping fatties off the Coca Cola saves money is seductive. It’s easy to sell to the government benches and the public alike.
Government obsessing over the health of the citizenry isn’t exactly new in this country. You could look back to the shock at the state of recruits being fed into the army for the Boer War as an awakening in the state for health as a public good.
Yet the whole idea kicked into a new gear with the advent of socialist Britain immediately after the Second World War. Tobacco enjoyed a staggering tax hike in 1947 — some 43 per cent — and just a year later the NHS was established, having been legislated for in 1946.
Government becomes responsible for the health of the nation; this costs money. Taxpayers demand their money is spent prudently; this is reasonable. The government therefore demands citizens call on the health service as little as possible; this in turn is logical.
It is because of that you get to enjoy the moment of wide-eyed astonishment when you are asked to hand over a tenner in return for twenty Marlboro Lights. This feeling is coming to cans of full-fat Coke soon.
So what, you don’t like the sugar tax? Blame the NHS. If the government didn’t ‘pay’ for your health care, they wouldn’t give a second thought for your health, unless you were called up to the army. Yes the tax is incredibly stupid but it, alongside gastric bands and expensive cigarettes and irritating propaganda campaigns is part and parcel of nationalised health.
I’m afraid even among some staggeringly unpopular opinions this is one you can guarantee will cause offence in polite company.
Professing a casual interest in eugenics, a fondness for the feudal system, even believing in God, pale in comparison. To deviate from the idea the NHS is the best thing that ever happened to Britain is absolutely the best way to not get invited back to those dinner parties you’d never admit to going to in the first place.
So you’d better get used to it, and drink up! It’s just a ruse to raise more tax money anyway.