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February 19, 2008

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Daniel

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Alex Nunns

Hi,

As an Englishman I'd just like to correct a few of the wild inaccuracies relating the the British National Health Service in this blog.

I note that no references were provided for the NHS scare stories, but I'll take them one by one.

1. People pulling out their own teeth - this example actually argues against the thesis of this blog, as the people who are pulling their teeth out are people who do not have an NHS dentist. It is the cost of private care and insurance that is forcing such action. Dentistry is not fully covered by the NHS, which is a disgrace, and what people here want are more nationalised dentists, not less.

2. It is certainly not true that anyone is denied an NHS midwife - every citizen is entitled to give birth on the NHS.

3. The story about insufficient numbers of bedsheets didn't even make the news here, so I suspect it isn't true. (In any case NHS supplies are actually administered by US company Novation, amid much protest.)

4. Waiting lists are massively down and no one waits for years.

5. A very small number of people are travelling to Europe, especially France, for some operations. This has more to do with European integration and has nothing to do with nationalised health - indeed every major European country has a nationalised health system. In fact a major political issue in Britain is the number of immigrants coming to the UK to use the NHS.

6. As for the smoker who couldn't get treated for a broken foot, this is clearly untrue. A broken bone would be treated in Accident and Emergency where there are no entitlement criteria.

Aside from suspect anecdotes, here is the real comparison:

Britain spends 8% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare, and the NHS covers everybody. The US spends 16%, yet 45 million people have no insurance.

In every major study Britain ranks as a far more healthy society than the US, and the British health system a far fairer and more comprehensive service than the American one. The Commonwealth Fund in New York found that the poorest Britons are healthier than the richest Americans.

There is a reason why the US is the only developed country not to have a civilised healthcare system!

Alex Nunns

Marcus Scott

Wow. Impressively sustained conservative rant. There are a few decent points made here (like the story of McGovern - assuming it is true), but mostly it's just an unfocused tirade that tries to wedge in all points of American right wing politics into a narrow argument on health care. First of all, how hard would it be to provide a little documentation or hyperlinks to all the "studies" to which you refer? Secondly, please proofread your article before submission for publication to avoid all the embarrassing typos and misspelling that I would think a professor would abhor. Not that spelling is the point here, but if you want to be taken seriously, you must conquer these basic elements of writing (particularly citation) that are usually taught at any public, i.e. federally funded University. I think that there is a strong argument to be made against national health care, but this is not it.

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