British Papers Report on U.S Health Care After Attacks on NHS

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by Ben Cohen

The Right really needs to choose its battles better. Picking on socialized medical care when the U.S private system leaves literally millions of people without coverage isn't the smartest thing to do. It is akin to the British criticizing the Italians about their food, or the Canadians insulting the U.S about baseball.

The Independent did an in depth report on health care in the U.S, and it uncovered some truly horrific facts (h/t Cesca):

They came in their thousands, queuing through the
night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a
strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right
and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles
simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their
cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had
brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their
life.

In the week that Britain's National Health Service was held aloft by
Republicans as an "evil and Orwellian" example of everything that
is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood,
California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President
Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system.

The LA Forum, the arena that once hosted sell-out Madonna concerts, has been
transformed – for eight days only – into a vast field hospital. In America,
the offer of free healthcare is so rare, that news of the magical medical
kingdom spread rapidly and long lines of prospective patients snaked around
the venue for the chance of getting everyday treatments that many British
people take for granted.

And if the Right wants numbers to back these assertions up, take a look at the comparison between the two systems:

Healthcare compared

Health spending as a share of GDP

US 16%

UK 8.4%

Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)

US 45%

UK 82%

Health spending per head

US $7,290

UK $2,992

Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)

US 2.4

UK 2.5

Nurses (per 1,000 people)

US 10.6

UK 10.0

Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)

US 2.7

UK 2.6

Life expectancy:

US 78

UK 80

Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)

US 6.7

UK 4.8

Source: WHO/OECD Health Data 2009