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.
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
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:
Health spending as a share of GDP
Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)
Health spending per head
Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)
Nurses (per 1,000 people)
Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)
Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)
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.