Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Healthcare British style or American?


I have read more about the National Health Service in the last two weeks than in the rest of my life. What is going on?

Mr Obama is, that's what.

Eh?

The American President wishes to introduce a new healthcare system into the USA.

I should care?

Probably not, unless you also care about deliberate misinformation about the NHS being used in a campaign to oppose the President.

Huh?

The British Embassy in Washington is, apparently, walking a fine line between correcting distortions about the NHS and being seen to intervene in an internal domestic issue. The NHS is, it seems, evil, Orwellian and socialist and therefore has no place in American healthcare.

Ah, socialism again - the true Satan. And there was me thinking I lived in a free democracy with healthcare provided free at the point of need.

What do you know about the two systems?

Well, I know that we are 18th in the World Health Organisation's international ranking of healthcare and the US is 37th. I know That the US expects people to have healthcare insurance and I know that I have never paid anything towards my healthcare other than for prescribed medicine and dental care both at ridiculously subsidised prices. I know I have the option to pay for private healthcare but why would I when it is free? I know that my 80 yr old father has had four major surgical procedures in the last two years, all for life-threatening conditions. One was an emergency admission without wait and the others were planned and monitored with a short wait. I know he does not have health insurance but I know you get turned away from some US hospitals if you don't have insurance. Why has the NHS come in for such a drubbing in America?

Take a look HERE

Ah, so it has nothing to do with fact but everything to do with presentation, misinformation and innuendo. That's the way to do politics.

If one is Republican.

Sorry. Of Course. My mistake. Em...I don't want to sound naive, but aren't there laws about this sort of thing? Can you just lie through your teath and tell big porkies to frighten people and get away with it?

If one is a Republican. One can also turn out in huge numbers and heckle the alternative viewpoint so that it doesn't get heard. One could also (but I am sure no one with integrity would) spend huge sums in advertising false information.

I know the NHS isn't perfect but if I were starting from scratch designing a new system, which I assume is what Mr. Obama wants, then I would make sure to learn from the shortcomings of other systems. That being the case isn't all this comparison stuff nonsense anyway? But if I was 37th in the WHO rankings I'd want to learn from those who were further up than me. Who is at the top?

France.

What, and they aren't socialists? How are they funded?

By a mixture of private insurance and public spending.

Why won't that do for the US?

Presumably because the way that private insurance is managed and the small premiums the French pay in comparison to US citizens would have those with their noses in the troughs well out of pocket.

Like I said. I should care.

Comments invited from those in the know.