Focus Point - Scotland's Socialized Medicine

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Sometimes the tone of a story is as interesting as the facts themselves, like a recent one about the Scottish National Health Service.

Beginning in 2003, the story stated, no patient treated by the country's socialized health service will have to wait more than nine months for hospital treatment -- down from the current one-year period maximum period.

And by 2005, no cancer patient will wait longer than two months when referred urgently for treatment.

Reading between the lines, they're saying, we're keeping the system that's held back health care for years -- and making it less awful. Thus, starting in October, women with breast cancer who need urgent attention will be treated within a month. But what about women who needed it urgently a year ago? Five years ago? I'd rather not think.

Oh, and more good news: The NHS structure is being streamlined from 43 management boards to only 15.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, the social security penalty.