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Thread: National health and other state programs

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    National health and other state programs

    I read with a somewhat cynical eye stories circulating last week that medical aid funds are looking to be part of the proposed national health plan. Of course they do! Otherwise there are a whole lot of people who will be looking for another way to earn their daily crust.

    The USA is also going through its own healthcare program debate at the moment, and its bringing forward some interesting, but pretty contrasting viewpoints. Take a moment to read No good idea will go unchallenged and Will it go round in circles? to see some different examples.

    It really does pose the question - when should government be providing the services and when should it be left to the private sector?

    I've generally held that government should be a moderating force with the private sector being the main driver of service provision. But after reading that little lot, I may need to rethink that.

    I'd be interested to hear what you think. What should government provide and what should government leave to the private sector?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Gold Member twinscythe12332's Avatar
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    The things that make or break people's lives should be at the very leasty monitored by government. Anything that needs a good deal of creativity and can do attitude, that's what the private sector should be for. I'm also inclined to say "anything we're currently having the ring ripped out of us for," but that's just not going to happen =P

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Those articles raise some strong points, particularly when it comes to some forms of service provision in rural areas. Electricity and telephone services spring to mind.

    That got me thinking - all said and done, have Eskom and Telkom really done that badly?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Eskom, Telkom, NHS, Nationalisation and Privatisation all in one thread from a couple of posts along with a question asking whether they are not that bad after all ..........Dave - I dont think we have enough time, disk space or energy to tackle this one.

    Baby steps for me please.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Just trying to find perspective, Marq

    OK. Let's try to break this down. The first step is to recognise the problem.

    One feature of private enterprise is there isn't an incentive to cross-subsidise, which can (and clearly will at times) result in gaps. This is a less-than-ideal situation, particularly if you happen to be in one of those gaps. Left to private enterprise to fill, those areas will sit at the bottom of the priority list and eventually only be filled at relatively exhorbitant prices.

    So should government take charge of the particular service industry as seen in electrical distribution and to a large extent telecoms, or should they rather just subsidise private sector efforts to provide in these less viable areas?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    My thoughts are that the gap between the service required and the ability to provide, for these utilities is far too great for a private enterprise to take control or even get a small slice of the action.

    This is as a result of government monopolisation over the years and a constant drive to ensure that private enterprise does not get out of the starting blocks.

    Further, judging by the current eskom price debate, the inability or reluctance of Telkom to relieve the broadband scenario or offer cheap phone calls, the sabc debacle and a host of other factors in the government controlled sectors, I believe that they have allowed a factor of non maintenance and corruption to creep in over the years and have created a situation where it is not just a simple task of privatisating and subsidising a new band of bandits to take over the current run down facilities, expecting the problems to go away.

    In addition to this, the privatisation would only be available to a bee/aa scenario and history has shown from the large corporates that this is not ideal. As examples of privatisation failures on a smaller front, one can review the Municipal Bus Disaster recently here in Durban. An older example is the privatisation of the SA Housing Trust which just fizzled into a cash flow scenario for a bunch of attorneys at the expense of housing development in the country which is now become another backlog issue for the government.

    At this stage I believe government is too busy fighting fires to worry about any issues like privatisation which would just create more union problems and further develop the rift that has developed in the political arena.

    As long as we have a class war relating to the poor and the rich, the government, especially with their brand of socialism, will be involved with driving all sectors of the economy and service delivery. While they are servicing the poor, they will need to control the rich element to ensure an ongoing supply of revenue streams to finance those projects. To privatise and allow those elements to be taken out of their hands, to be reliant on tax collections from corporations intent on tax avoidance and evasion is not part of the big picture.

    To the debate as to whether the utilities the Government has been in charge of, have done that badly, one only has to look at the huge increase in tariffs on all fronts and the delivery which has become erratic, expensive and a constant source of concern, with all seeking an alternative to those services which we have become used to in the past.

    Yes, its time something be done about it before we slip further into a banana republic. Hopefully the song and dance act currently underway by our leader does the trick.

    Grime, crime, graft and corruption along with the inability to recognise skills and allow proper growth is the countries undoing. This scenario has to be reversed to allow a positive, competent force to take SA to the world and be recognised as a proper emerging economy and not an imploding economy taken down as a result of the inability to service basic needs and requirements such as electricity, water, housing, communication and transport.
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