Allyson Pollock


Ms. Pollock:

Professor Allyson Pollock is assistant principal for International Health Policy and director of the Centre for International Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University.

You would expect such to know what she is talking about. Sadly not:

Take for example the costs of the new market bureaucracy; for more than 40 years administration costs were in the order of 6% of the total budget a year, they doubled overnight to 12% in 1991 with the introduction of the internal market. We have no data today for England, but what we know from the US is that the introduction of for-profit providers increases administrative costs to the order of 30% or more.

The 30% figure for admin costs for for profit providers includes the cost of raising the money through insurance premiums in the first place. The admin costs for the NHS do not include the cost of raising the funds to pay for the NHS. That is buried in the tax system.

There are deadweight costs associated with any tax. No, this isn\’t the cost of actually raising the tax, the admin burden of checking tax returns. This is the opportunity cost of what people would have done with the money otherwise if they hadn\’t been taxed. As a general rule of thumb it\’s 20% of the amount raised in tax. A more accurate figure for marginal rates (calculated from US marginal rates, sorry, no numbers for the UK that I know of) are that deadweight losses at current tax rates are more like 33%.

If that is true (I don\’t insist it is, although I do insist that the basic point about deadweight costs of taxation stands) then the NHS admin costs, on a like for like basis, are higher than a private insurance system.

You would think that a senior academic on health care would know such things and either she does but she deliberately doesn\’t tell us or she doesn\’t and is ignorant of the subject upon which she speaks. Either way the cow can fuck off.

Then there are all the other contracted out services including the pharmaceutical bill of £14bn.

Err, that\’s the total NHS drug bill. You know, all that money that goes to Glaxo, Pfizer and the like. She\’s seriously suggesting that drug development and manufacturing should be brought within the NHS?

Where do The Guardian find these numpties?

4 thoughts on “Allyson Pollock”

  1. “You would expect such to know what she is talking about.”

    Fifteen-twenty years ago, yes, you would.

    Not now. Not if you’ve been paying attention for the last fifteen-twenty years, anyway…

  2. Indeed. In fact, the underlying theme to today’s quango piece in the Speccie: how professionals on these boards have been replaced by Labour stooges who know only politics.

  3. There are deadweight costs associated with any tax. […] This is the opportunity cost of what people would have done with the money otherwise if they hadn’t been taxed.
    No, that’s assumed equal to the cost of what the government wouldn’t be able to spend money on had they not taxed. Deadweight loss refers to the fact that people are less inclined to earn money when they are being taxed. So neither the taxpayer nor the government get the money that makes up deadweight loss.

  4. Tim,

    You seem to be comparing a known known unfavourably to a known unknown in order to reach the conclusion you would like. The people could have spent the money on building factories in the Pearl River Delta in order to enrich themselves through the tears and sweat of a thousand orphans, or else they could have spent it all on catfood. Who knows? The point is, Da Prof got da numbers and you no likee…

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