Oh no, the elephants are at the watering hole again.
The government’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) says that In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment should be free, whatever the heck ‘free’ means, which I suppose in this case means I have to pay for it whether I want to or not.
Here’s one of those hot medical areas which it is easy to avoid discussing. But being one who is constantly trying to seek the best position on any particular ‘moral’ or ‘ethical’ position, I was wondering if anyone out there is willing to offer me further guidance? My current views on ‘free’ IVF treatment are as follows. Infertility is God’s way of letting you know you have several lifestyle alternative choices on offer:
- You could shrug your shoulders, accept God’s wisdom, declare your unconditional love for your partner, and then spend the money saved on lavish consumer products, holidays, and financial support for Samizdata’s bandwidth costs, rather than nappies, five-bedroomed houses, people carriers, and all the other paraphernalia of decades of expensive child care.
- You could split from your current partner, and you could both try to have a baby with someone else.
- You could adopt one of the many unwanted babies born in the UK, and God bless you if you do.
- If you exist above a bare level of poverty, and dependent on how far above this line you are, you could sell the BMW for a second hand scooter, you could sell the house in the south-east and move to Carlisle, you could cut the foreign holidays and spend your time on camping holidays in Wales, cut the manicures, cut the business coaching sessions, or cut the golf club fees. You could then invest any savings made in private IVF treatments.
- If you exist on a bare level of poverty, and you really don’t mind bringing children into the world to share this level of poverty with you, which is a whole thread in itself, you could seek out private charities to help you with the cost of IVF.
Now call me an Old Scrooge McDuck, but what I don’t think you have is the right to tap me on the shoulder, relieve me of my wallet, and force me to pay for IVF, or a boob job, or a penis extension, or a tattoo removal, or any other such ‘lifestyle’ enhancement (for want of a better term), just because it would upset you not to have the treatment.
If we lived in a better world, we in the UK would all have private health insurance, and I would be in the plan which most suited my needs, and I would certainly take the Leviathan Insurance discount for not having IVF cover in event of my present or future infertility, as I’d be quite happy to live with the infertility options presented above, if such a terrible affliction struck me. I would also be quite happy to see you take out the full Leviathan Insurance cover, which did include such protection, if you weren’t happy with the above options.
So I suppose this comes down, again, to whether you believe in socialised medicine, and if you do, whether it should provide everything or whether it should provide a certain minimum set of obligations. Although I would much prefer the NHS to be abolished, as soon as is practicable, I can just about stomach being forced to shell out for it, via my taxes, for the ramshackle minimal health services cover it currently provides me and everyone else with. This is because although I object in principle to being forced to contribute to it, under a fully privatised system I would certainly choose to contribute to private health charities to help provide this minimal system. But what I think is an outrage is being forced to pay for the never-ending flow of new and modern treatments which come on-stream as technology advances, while watching the basic system of straightforward illness treatment and emergency cover crumble.
Before even considering IVF, and imagining I was still a socialist, what I would personally like to have ‘free’ are services such as accessible dentistry, chiropodists, opticians, chiropractors, and other such grey-area ‘luxuries’. But of course I can’t get them on the NHS, not round my way, because although in cloud-cuckoo moron land everything is ‘free’ on the NHS, here on planet Earth the laws of economics dictate that scarce resources must be rationed, either via price mechanisms on the free market, or via straightforward socialist queuing and queue-jumping, a system which is especially good for those with friends on the inside, or access to the splendiferous Chelsea and Westminster hospital. So to decide who are the ‘deserving’, with the NHS, we also have to add on top yet another layer of expensive bureaucrats, with the laughable New Labour acronym of NICE, who ponder like angels in heaven on who deserves what, and for how long, and the periods in which they are eligible. What it must be to be one of these angels ministering out politically correct medical treatments to healthy young couples while old age pensioners with diabetes lose their feet because they can’t afford chiropodists.
The sooner the NHS is abolished the better.