The British NHS vs. US health system

Stephen Fry narrates a comparison of the two health care systems and shows clearly why the British National Health Service is vastly superior to the ghastly system that we have here that works only for those with tons of money.

It is clear that the likely new prime minister of the UK will be Boris Johnson and that he wants to take the UK out of the EU even with no Brexit deal. He will then be desperate to carve out new trade deals with other countries and the US will be the main target, since he seems to view Donald Trump as a soul mate even though Trump will treat him like a lackey.

But the US will demand that for any deal to be made, he must first set about dismantling the NHS, reducing price controls on drugs, and allowing private health insurance companies to play a much greater role. You can be sure that the medical-pharmaceutical-health insurance industries are salivating at the prospect of gouging an entirely new population of people.

(Via Cory Doctorow)


  1. file thirteen says

    The majority of USians are now (finally) in favour of Medicare for all, but that doesn’t mean the finish line is in sight. The profiteers fight for survival, and a change in public opinion isn’t nearly enough to make them give up. Instead, their politicians’ strategy is now to make empty promises of improvements in the status quo. Even Trump is in on the act.

    Those promises will eventually be revealed as lies, but it’s a solid strategy in tandem with the “you’re not sick Jack, so why would you want to pay to support others?” message.

    That policy of appealing to people’s self-interest has always worked well in the US. When someone in their family gets seriously sick, members of the 99% do finally realise that they’ve been gambling with their health, but by then it’s too late. The sick, even counting their relations, are always going to be the minority, and the US has never been keen on supporting minorities (other than the rich).

    So even now that public opinion has swung, the perennial problem remains of what is in the public’s desire not being in their representatives’ interests. Republicans will continue to be against Medicare for all while promising improvement to the current system, and Democrats will pledge to do otherwise, but really only attempt to marginalise troublemakers like Bernie out of the picture until they can place the issue in the too-hard basket. There’s still a long road ahead.

  2. jrkrideau says

    Let me see if I got this right. We do not have the best health system in the world but I should agree to the US insanity?

  3. John Morales says

    Same here in Oz. Anecdotally, the daughter of a friend, who was a 2nd-generation welfare recipient and lived in a rural area and was into drugs etc became very, very ill.

    First bad episode, she was airlifted to the best hospital and spent literally weeks in intensive care, had operations. Her (then-widowed mother) was put up in accommodation. Second, similar.

    Didn’t cost her nor her family a cent, though those costs probably exceeded 7 figures over the years, and her problems were so bad that the third time she succumbed and died. And yes, I did help fund help her funeral, FWTW, for her mum. And you know what, on behalf of my country I am proud of that, unlike so many other things (e.g. what we do to refugees).

    (Frankly, I’d far, far rather spend resources on these things than on first-class flights and wining and dining and accommodation for politicians and their cronies. Or $1.2M missiles with which to enforce our hegemony, etc.)

  4. jrkrideau says

    @3 John Morales
    Horrible story.I have a friend who has diabetes. He, recently, lost a foot. Still the cost to him was zero. He was a citizen.

  5. Mobius says

    I love Stephen Fry.

    Of course out of millions of people in Great Britain you can find horror stories relating to single payer health care. This is a game that Fox News and others opposing single payer are constantly playing. When dealing with populations of nation states, one needs to refer to statistics. Unfortunately the majority of Americans have no training, even the most basic, in statistics. And thus the same players opposing single player use “statistics” to lie even more. As Twain said (I believe it was him), “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damn lies and statistics.”

    One solution to this would be better education at the high school level. Cover, at least, the definitions and consequences of the terms used in statistics. But I don’t foresee major improvements in our education system any time in the near future.

  6. blf says

    As Twain said (I believe it was him), “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damn lies and statistics.”

    Apropos of nothing, Twain himself attributed it to Benjamin Disraeli (Chapters From My Autobiography — XX, dated 1907):

    […] Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force:

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    However, as Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge notes, “the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli’s works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death.” What looks like a fairly though list of known attributions / sources is Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics:

    A few years ago I thought that I had successfully tied down the origin of this quotation. I concluded that it came from Lord Courtney in 1895 […], but it now appears virtually certain that, whoever first thought of it, it was not Lord Courtney. The origin is still uncertain, but if it originated with any one well-known figure, the most likely candidate is Sir Charles Dilke [in 1891].

    Other attributions to Disraeli dated back to 1895. Disraeli died in 1881.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *