Originally Posted by
As I personally am a conservative libertarian I think its strange that someone with a libertarian view point would support the NHS.
If people are willing to accept the money they are being payed then we are paying people the right amount, if we have a staff shortage then people need to be payed more.
Well, I was opposed to it before I studied it in depth (I wrote a dissertation on the NHS as opposed to the Massachucetts Health Care reform bill) but I'm an empirical libertatrian - I believe that most (and just about everything for that matter) things operate most effectively and efficiently under a market system, but healthcare is one of the few things that simply doesn't (although introducing some quasi-markets can improve internal efficiency.) There are too many complications that throw the market off efficiency - the third party payment problem, adminstration costs, drug company contracts to name but a few.
As regards to the pay issue - you're quite right in many ways. What I mean is there's a disparity in terms of pure market value (what someone could charge for their skills and recouping the cost of training, stress of the job and hours worked) - I.E what top healthcare professionals earn in the states, compared to what they are paid here. Generally it's the old "non-cash" job benefits explanation that's applicable - people are prepared to work for a lower cost because they believe their work has social value, and thus are prepared to accept being paid below skills. Plus bleed-off is reduced because medical licensing issues means it very difficult to transfer to another healthcare system if dissatisfied with pay.
If this low wage cost ever changes though (and there is some pressure) then we'd be better off scrapping the NHS. It's just at the moment the benefits of price outweigh the costs of inefficiency. If I felt the system would work better under a market at present I'd support it like a shot.