Mental health social bonds: what could possibly go wrong?

Featured Image -- 9103The government is planning to issue social bonds to private investors for the provision of some mental health services. The idea seems to be that putting the mental health system into the hands of private investors will improve outcomes, because investors will only see a return on their investment if performance targets are met.

It’s a wonderful idea that cannot possibly fail. It’s inconceivable that private organisations would cut corners or game the system in order to achieve artificial and arbitrary targets. Why would organisations that exist solely for profit do such a thing? What incentive could these businesses have to do other than the right thing?

It’s high time we did something about mental health in this country, and the free market is the best tool to effect change. When has unbridled capitalism ever caused harm to the weak, the vulnerable and the powerless? A short, sharp dose of privatisation is just what some of these people need.

So well done to National for coming up with this plan, a plan so perfect that it beggars belief nobody in power has ever before thought to leave the health and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens entirely at the mercy of the private sector.

And this should be just the beginning. If we can improve mental health outcomes by privatising the system, just think what else we could achieve if we unleashed the power of the free market across all of government.

What chance would our criminals have if we privatised the police force? The crime stats, which everyone knows cannot be manipulated, massaged, or in any way falsified, would see a remarkable improvement.

For that matter, why is the taxpayer continuing to fund the armed services? Or Parliament? We wouldn’t need an army or a legislature if we let the free market rule.

Let’s give the private sector the chance to show its stuff. I really can’t see anything going wrong. The free market is by far the best medicine for the mentally ill. It is a far more powerful drug than any of Fluoxetine, Xanax, Ritalin, Lorazepam, Risperidone, Doxepin, or Trazodone.

That’s not to say those drugs don’t have a place. If you took all of those medications at once, and washed them down with some vodka, you might also think the government’s plan was a fantastic one.