“Single-Payer” Health Care from a “Primary Source“
Living as (I currently do) in the UK, I find the debate about socialised healthcare in America pretty funny. Especially when the NHS (our nationalised healthcare system) is so appallingly bad. Even funnier is when the NHS is held up as some great example of how things should be done.
Some truths about the NHS:
1) If your treatment is considered “not an emergency” (by which I mean you are not gushing blood or whatever) you will go onto a very long waiting list.
2) Because of 1) the government got snappy and decided to set targets for waiting list times. Hospital managers came up with a novel solution: Secret waiting lists to get onto waiting lists. This meant they didn’t have to improve care, but the governments figures improve. Everyone who matters is happy. In the NHS, patients don’t matter.
3) Killer hospital acquired infections like MRSA are endemic in NHS hospitals.
4) NHS accountants make decisions about what treatments are worth spending money on. If the accountants decide your treatment isn’t financially worth it, tough luck. You can always go private.
5) Which brings us to private healthcare in Britain. In order to make up for their horrifyingly low salaries, most doctors also are involved in private practice. If you choose to go private, you still have to pay for the NHS. Not only are you paying for your care, but also for care other people are not really getting. It’s a fantastic system!
6) If you are struck by 4) and decide to pay for the treatment, then you are struck off the NHS with immediate effect and expected to pay for all your healthcare for issues related to the one you are paying for. You are still charged for the NHS through your taxes – you just can’t use it. If the condition you have is terminal then it’s likely that all the health issues you have will be related and you will have to pay for all of them.
These last two points conspire against the middle classes. Because taxes are so high, they can’t afford to also pay for private healthcare and so get worse healthcare than they would in the US. The poor get some healthcare which is better (I guess) and the rich can happily pay for private healthcare and the NHS at the same time. If they pay taxes in the UK at all.
7) Healthcare is not even free. I still have to pay for prescriptions, dental care, eye care and many other things that the NHS accountants have deemed non-essential.
You don’t want socialised healthcare in the US. Trust us. We live in Britain.
Of course, this wouldn’t happen here. We’d have the Right People in charge!