Why I Love The NHS

Via Boing Boing:

The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is unpaid medical bills.

Half of the uninsured owe money to hospitals, and a third are being pursued by collection agencies.

Children without health insurance are less likely to receive medical attention for serious injuries, for recurrent ear infections, or for asthma. Lung-cancer patients without insurance are less likely to receive surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. Heart-attack victims without health insurance are less likely to receive angioplasty. People with pneumonia who don’t have health insurance are less likely to receive X rays or consultations.

The death rate in any given year for someone without health insurance is twenty-five per cent higher than for someone with insurance. Because the uninsured are sicker than the rest of us, they can’t get better jobs, and because they can’t get better jobs they can’t afford health insurance, and because they can’t afford health insurance they get even sicker.
(Source: New Yorker)

Here in Britain, we’re used to having a socialist healthcare system. A system that was put in place by the post-war Labour government. Sure, Britons liked having Churchill to lead them in the war but as soon as they could, they kicked the old Tory out and voted themselves a shiny new Welfare State.

I don’t think anyone under-50 and British can possibly understand the situation in America. I remember talking about it with a friend of mine and he remarked that one of his US friends didn’t go skiing because she was afraid of the hospital bills should she break something. When’s the last time this was the primary concern for you before you went for a weekend away?

What a world – that a tax-paying citizen of the richest country in the world should be hobbled by her country’s barbaric healthcare provision is almost surreal.

Americans spend $5,267 per capita on health care every year, almost two and half times the industrialized world’s median of $2,193; the extra spending comes to hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

What does that extra spending buy us?

Americans have fewer doctors per capita than most Western countries. We go to the doctor less than people in other Western countries. We get admitted to the hospital less frequently than people in other Western countries.

We are less satisfied with our health care than our counterparts in other countries.

American life expectancy is lower than the Western average.

Childhood-immunization rates in the United States are lower than average. Infant-mortality rates are in the nineteenth percentile of industrialized nations.
(Source: New Yorker)

So, America’s grand, free-market healthcare system costs more than average and yet doesn’t even deliver! Brilliant! Chalk up another victory for capitalism. It bankrupts you and doesn’t even heal you in the process. Behind the American crisis are, surprise, surprise, scurrying bourgeois economists, peddling their pseudo-science and waving about terms like “moral hazard.” Terms which end up killing and maiming innocent Americans denied access to universal healthcare.

Please read the full article, linked above, for more detail. But I warn you, you’ll need a strong stomach for some of it.

So, the next time you’re moaning about how long you’ve had to wait in Casualty or the rubbish magazines in GP’s waiting rooms, give thanks that you’re not an American.