Why mixed healthcare systems are failing in trying to deliver subsidized healthcare

New Australian Healthcare Tiers - are a good example of the impact of WTO law requirement to be 'least trade restrictive' on all mixed private systems (also public subsidies must be temporary and countries must incorporate measures to phase them out and transition to purely market based solutions into their domestic regulation)

According to experts, the law on subsidies in the jurispudence on services in the WTO is still incomplete, and unsure. But we can see from the many places in the law where the law clearly does apply what the general picture is.

That the general trend is towards treating all subsidies as a crutch and temporary. This can be seen clearly in the adoption of the LDC Services Waiver, which attempts to legitimize a distinction being made between the very poorest countries and the others, only the very poorest countries can break the rules, and they, only for a limited time.

Or in the gradual privatization of the UK's NHS. By joining the WTO, the UK basically signed the NHS's death warrant. But they didn't tell the public this, then or now. A similar level of lying has occurred in the US with even worse consequences.

(Above image is from: How the World Trade Organisation is shaping domestic policies in health care by Pollock, Price, etc. in The Lancet )

This ideology is also shown by the standstill clause in the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. See how we are required to eliminate or reduce the scope of non-conforming measures.

Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services's standstill clause

A good example of how it works is the Affordable Care Act, which was definitely added after Feb 26, 1998, the effective date of the Understanding.

Any service sector that receives a partial subsidy that competes with commercial entities, would violate Article 1:3 and likely many other rules as well.

Wealthy countries are expected to not need the crutch of subsidies, since they are the epitome of capitalism and the free market. One can see the general idea of what was being planned in this screenshot from an article from Health Affairs from a decade ago.

Source: The General Agreement On Trade In Services: Implications For Health Policymakers (Health Affairs)

Subsidies - even in the cases of things essential to life, are framed as "trade distorting". A very wide variety of measures are framed as subsidies. For example, anything that had the effect of making it more expensive for foreign firms to compete with US ones would be seen as a subsidy. Even labor and environmental standards and things like minimum wage and permission to work rules. 

Basically most of the legal interventions of the late 20th century are on shaky legal ground in WTO jurisprudence!

However, WTO GATS does have a narrow exception, which only applies when a service sector in a country is entirely free and noncommercial, so it almost never applies. (See the many documents we have listed under the tag GATS Article 1:3) especially this one:  governmental authority exception.

Writing by a number of experts seems to make it clear that this exception would only apply with health care if we completely eliminated all health insurance and all user charges for for-profit health care.

In other words a single payer system. However, to do this we must either go back in time to before 1995, or carve out the entire service sector forever from all trade agreements NOW. Which might require compensating other countries, or corporations, huge amounts of money, or concessions, or we might be asked to give up market access or more public jobs, faster, so they could be outsourced here speeding up the process of offshoring them, which would be incredibly unfair. 

We effectively gave up control over our own laws when we joined the WTO!

Or the problem still exists - under other FTAs. Which led by the US are targeting SOEs in other countries.

The US is on the warpath against public health care around the world. That seems to me likely to be the real reason why we now must not be allowed to bend the rules ourselves, or other countries might be tempted to try, after all, their people are dying.

Its a slippery slope, I am sure some feel. They likely are businesspeople who put their investments ahead of the entire human race. many of them are in other countries, some of which have a saying, "Live and Let Die". basically, live your own life and dont try to save every poor person you see dying on the street, because there are billions more of them. This is the future they are trying to condition us to. because anything else would require they show compassion.

These FTAs exude an ideology of cuelty along with their dishonesty which requires we show our own people the iron face, to show the other countries we mean business. This is what both parties are hiding. Their real face. 

If we ever want a hypothetical future just world, we must stop trying to force other countries to adopt "our system" - stop trying to force them to not help their poor people, or help them only temporaily.

or they will insist we treat our own people like we're treating them. We must stop trying to force them to eliminate their public healthcare and higher education systems. Via entities like the WTO and other FTAS like TISA.

In the WTO rules we are not allowed to create any new monopolies. Not after 1995. And anything we do do must be intentionally crippled, like Obamacare, so it isnt extended to too many people. That amount of help and of scope must keep going down all the time. Even though jobs are going away.

Also the amount of restrictions we allow, must continue to go down and the amount of market access, basically the number and kinds of jobs we offshore and outsource must keep going up. Thats called "progressive liberalization".

What is trade restrictiveness


"Exploring the Meaning of Trade-Restrictiveness in the WTO" by Tania S.L. Voon on SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2529276

The Economics of WTO Rules on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures

See also: