My father in law lives in London. He is into his eighties now but still fit and active. He has a bus pass which he uses frequently. Occasionally, when he wants to get somewhere specific in a hurry, he takes a taxi. He has just received a letter from the Mayor of London telling him that as he has paid to use a taxi, he can no longer use the buses.
Too silly for words. Equally silly are the cases highlighted in this morning’s papers of NHS patients who have decided to pay for drugs not available on the NHS and, as a result, have been thrown out of the NHS. This is classic old Labour “what’s yours in mine, what’s mine is my own” pseudo-socialism. Take your pick, comrades. Second rate care from the NHS or first rate care from the private sector. But you cannot “pick and mix”.
Few people can afford full private care; a much larger number may be able to afford to pay for an occasional upgrade. And the private medical insurance industry will easily be able to design products that underwrite occasional upgrades.
Into the moral maze we go. Hell, none of this is perfect. I don’t like the idea of people having to “top up” their medical care either. But we live in an imperfect world. All this stubborn, blinkered refusal to allow “pick and mix” does is ensure that first rate medicine remains available only to the super rich. How dare the government deprive a UK citizen of his right to NHS health care because he has chosen to take an occasional medical "taxi"?