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Brit Health Care Verdict: ‘American Style’ Is Vile

June 14, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Practice Management
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In America, politicians win votes by railing against “socialized medicine” while simultaneously promising to “protect Medicare.”

In Great Britain, you accomplish the same thing by vowing to protect the public from “American-style” health care.

According to a Los Angeles Times story published Monday:

Ask a Briton to describe ‘American-style’ health care, and you’ll hear a catalog of horrors that include grossly expensive and unnecessary medical procedures and a privatized system that favors the rich.

The article continues: “For a people accustomed to free health care for all, regardless of income, the fact that millions of their cousins across the Atlantic have no insurance and can’t afford decent treatment is a farce as well as a tragedy.”

Great Britain created the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948 as the country struggled to recover from the devastation of World War II. Now, more than six decades later, the Times story describes it as “an institution so cherished that some describe it as the closest thing here to a truly national religion.”

The current Conservative Party-led government has stirred anxiety with its plan to give doctors more power and introduce more competition into the NHS. During a nationally televised speech last week, Prime Minister David Cameron reassured the populace that it need not fear an imposition of, well, the A-word.

“If you’re worried that we’re going to sell off the NHS or create some American-style private system, we will not do that,” he said. “In this country we have the most wonderful, precious institution and also precious idea that whenever you’re ill … you can walk into a hospital or a surgery and get treated for free, no questions asked, no cash asked.

“It is the idea at the heart of the NHS, and it will stay. I will never put that at risk.”

Replace “NHS” with “Medicare” and tinker with the wording a bit, and that little speech all by itself could get you elected in this country. It makes one long for the days when the only thing we had to fear was fear itself.

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