A friend of mine in the UK just emailed me. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say:
I am currently listening to news coverage of the debate taking place over there in the US about health care. There are some politicians citing the National Health Service as being an insidious service which rations out health care. I could not believe my ears when I heard the arguments against the NHS. How much insurance cover would I have needed in the US for the following treatments:- a partial laminectomy, the removal of the gall bladder, treatment(35 shots of radiotherapy) for prostate cancer, three months of Chemotherapy prior to the removal of the bladder and prostate,the resultant hospital treatment, all together about four weeks including five days on Intensive Care wards, and continued monitoring in the way of CAT and MRI scans and X-rays and not to mention numerous back-up consultations, and, most recently, consultations prior to my lung biopsy, during which fluid was drawn from the lung for analysis, the biopsy and resultant treatment including 48 hours on a High Dependency Unit, and, finally admission and treatment, including another CAT scan,for the blood clot in the lung. Oh, and don’t forget all the drugs I have been on over the years, and am still on. Total cost to yours truly, not a penny!! I think I know which system I prefer!
None of the arguments so far put forward agains health care reform ring true, except those that inadvertantly admit to being self-serving. They are either scare stories, that is to say, lies, or they are grounded in something other than a concern about health care. For example, those who say they oppose it on cost grounds are the same ones who voted for enough spending to change a budget surplus into a record level deficit. Those who oppose it on the basis that government can’t do things well are the same ones who fight to retain Medicare (but are careful to ensure that Medicare can’t use its full bargaining power). The only truth-sayers are those who fear that it would hurt the insurance industry (which is making big campaign contributions) and those who are opposing it because it’s the Democrats and Obama who are pushing for it.
And of course, that’s the point. The goal of the opposition is to defeat Obama and the Democrats. Health care is just a tool. When you hear the arguments, remember that. And think of my poor, downtrodden British friend.