A glimpse of the future of health care that looks all too familiar

Demonstrators outside the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, during an inquiry into standards of care that resulted in 1,200 patient deaths.

ObamaCare kicks in with a vengeance in 2014. What will American health care look like a few decades hence as a result?

Considering this administration’s long string of cover-ups and lies — from Fast and Furious to Benghazi to secretly snooping on reporters — one might see through an editorial in today’s Financial Times into the future.

The U.K.-based publication clearly embraces that nation’s socialized health care system, saying its upcoming 65th anniversary should be “a day of celebration for what Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS (National Health Service), rightly described as the hallmark of a civilised society.”

Instead, Brits are getting a steady stream of reports of neglect, abuse and cover-your-ass cover-ups. “Whistleblowers have been bullied and dissenters intimidated in a misguided attempt to deflect criticism,” the newspaper reports. “Now the disease appears to have spread to the Care Quality Commission, the NHS regulator. This week it was alleged that former management at the CQC tried to suppress criticism of inspections at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, where several babies died.”

Apparently some top health care administrators were under some kind of gag clauses in their contracts and were not allowed to speak out about overcrowding and patient safety. At one hospital, Mid-Staffordshire, up to 1,200 people died as a result of poor care. “But if even the regulator charged with exposing the weaknesses of the system cannot be trusted to be transparent, there is no guarantee that standards will improve,” FT’s editorial suggests.

The conclusion of the editorial had an eery ring of familiarity:

“The NHS is about to embark on one of the most challenging periods of its history. It will have to treat a rapidly ageing population with fewer resources and greater scrutiny of results. Its survival can only be ensured if everyone — healthcare workers and regulator — focus on protecting patients rather than themselves.”

If only someone had chosen to protect our diplomats abroad in hostile territory instead of making up lies to protect themselves from having to take responsibility?

This glimpse of the future of American health care under a monolithic bureaucracy looks way too familiar.