From Instapundit, in two parts:
As the piece goes on to explain, the [British] hospital’s actions [ignoring even basic standards of care] sprung from its single-minded pursuit of cost control. It drastically reduced its operating budget in hopes of qualifying for foundation-trust status, a legal category that would grant it more freedom from central government control. It’s a textbook case of how structural incentives in government-dominated health care systems can lead to terrible outcomes.
When Obama took to the stump for health care reform, one promise came through loud and clear: “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.” That promise is officially about to be broken, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Millions of employees will soon be dropped from health insurance coverage as new provisions of the law go into effect. . . . The CBO also projected that 5 million fewer people will gain health insurance coverage over the next decade than originally expected.
Well, health insurance got more expensive (via mandates), and government bureaucracies are bad at assessing quality of care but good at assessing cost. Individual humans are good at assessing what they, subjectively, find to be good quality (e.g. lots of nurses, good hospital food, private rooms, fast procedures, the best doctors) and comparing it with cost; likewise, individuals are good at finding the right automobile insurance plan, home insurance plan, life insurance plan, and, if unfettered, health care plan. Markets are good – really good, as if the very survival of the company depended on it – at responding to those assessments.