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Archive for June, 2011

Richard Dreyfuss reads the iTunes EULA

Magnificent. I always find it difficult to get past the idea that end user licenses should be covering territory already covered under the Sales of Goods Act. Richard Dreyfuss’s dramatic interpretation of the iTunes EULA perfectly captures the personalities we all suspect are involved in their drafting.

Conservatives NHS motivation seen as helping businesses, not patients

A new poll on the NHS reforms captures the core problem:

A large plurality, 45% to 23%, believe that “any changes the Conservatives make to the NHS will be motivated by a desire to help business rather than patients.”

Conservatives would stenuously deny this, of course, but the donations Andrew Lansley has received from private health care interests and his ties to the junk food industry provide a solid basis for believing it to be true.

This is a real problem. There is a widespread and naïve faith in some quarters in the ability of choice and competition to reduce the overall costs of healthcare. But there is also a tendency to focus to concentrate on the quick wins and the cherry picks (e.g. elective cataract procedures) without providing any explanation of how such examples can be used as a basis to explain the full set of reforms.

Anyway, what I find interesting about the poll overall is that the need for reform is understood, there’s not an excessive amount of suspicion over any of the broad principles mentioned so far – but there is a great degree of suspicion about the intent of the Conservative party.

Rightly so, in my view. When you’ve got complex changes and large scale transformation, the motivation of the key players is a major factor in determining the outcome. If we are right, and a significant factor in the Tories thinking is driving profit-driven healthcare, then the demographic trends aren’t so much a cost nightmare as a great market opportunity. Where’s the incentive to control the cost to the taxpayer?