:: Friday, January 13, 2006 ::

Unscripted

It was nice to see Margo McDonald on Politics Now (STV) last night. She looked well and was still doing what she does best, cutting through politicians bullshit. One of the things she did was to express her support for Colin Fox's bill to scrap prescription charges.

Like Margo I was delighted when the Scottish Parliament Health Committee voted to back the bill. In the course of my duties with the Scrap Prescription Charges website, I have been reading through the proceedings of this committee. Colin won the argument on it hands down and tore the executive case to shreds. The committee congratulated him on the quality of his submission. The system as it stands is full of anomalies that no one defends. The Welsh Assembly have already begun scrapping the charges.

The Scottish Executive's main case now is their standard argument against universal benefits. But making a benefit universal is proven to dramatically increase uptake. It is the founding principal of the welfare state and in particular the NHS - universality. The Executive had no problem with it when it introduced free personal care for the elderly. And when you means test a benefit, that needs an expensive bureaucracy. At the very least the time taken to administer charges could be used more effectively elsewhere.

Naturally the Executive will do everything they can to derail the bill. They may have to conceed that the system needs to change. But if just a few lib-dem or labour members break the whip then it will make all the difference. So write to your MSP, write to the papers.

The bill is also an interesting example of the choices posed by devolution. To follow Westminster, or a better example in Wales? What's good for Cardiff is good for Edinburgh.


:: Alister | 9:41 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |

1 Comments:

It seems the discussion of prescription prices, is on a high level there. No such talk in the USA.

By Blogger Renegade Eye, at 7:55 am  

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