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

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

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.