Jun 23, 2011
During the debate of Barack Obama’s health reform proposal many conservative politicians accused Democrats of trying to bring “socialized medicine” to the U.S. Socialized medicine is a system where the government not only provides health insurance (such as Medicare) but also employs the doctors and runs the hospitals. So, for instance, veterans in the United States are provided socialized medicine through the Veterans Health Administration. The doctors are government employees and the health care provided is paid with tax dollars collected by the U.S. government.
While conservative arguments about health reform were completely absurd (the Affordable Care Act sets up state markets where Americans receive tax credits to buy private insurance), right now across the Atlantic the debate between “American-style health care” and “socialized medicine” is heating up again, but with an interesting twist. British citizens under the world’s most famous socialized health care system are scared of the creeping threat of “American-style” health care.
Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron has come under fire over his proposed reforms of the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) program. The NHS is a government agency that employs doctors and nurses to provide health care to all British citizens. In a recent speech, Cameron promised to protect England from private insurance:
"If you're worried that we're going to sell off the NHS or create some American-style private system, we will not do that. In this country we have the most wonderful, precious institution and also precious idea that whenever you're ill … you can walk into a hospital or a surgery and get treated for free, no questions asked, no cash asked. It is the idea at the heart of the NHS, and it will stay. I will never put that at risk."
Health care in the U.K. costs less than half of what it does in the U.S. and the only socialized health care system in the U.S. (the Veterans Health Administration) outperforms the private system. Pe
rhaps the British people are right to be more scared of our system then we are of theirs.