Thursday, August 20, 2009

Setting the Record Straight about Health Care

I have lived in the USA and in England (and in Australia too). I am 73, I have a lot of experience and I know what I’m talking about. So this is a message to the US Congress and the people of America about health care.

Our British health care system isn't perfect, but we would never trade it for the one in the US.
Yet conservative US politicians and greedy insurance companies are pushing lies about our National Health Service as a way to scare the American public off universal health care - risking Obama's whole movement for change and threatening his majority in Congress.

Please ignore the lies about health systems in our country and others that are being pushed by US healthcare companies. Our national system of public healthcare works very well and enjoys extremely high levels of public support. Yes, there is room for improvement. Sure, for some non-urgent procedures there are waiting lists. But our system ensures that treatment is available for every man, woman and child in this entire country, and that nobody ever gets turned away when they need medical help. Anyone over 60 gets medication free of charge. We have reciprocal agreements with the rest of Europe so that we don’t have to fear falling ill on vacation on the European mainland. We even have a phone-in line for instant medical advice which is free and available to everyone.

We wish you a healthy and honest debate about healthcare in the US. And I for one am crossing my fingers that you will one day soon have the kind of universal health care that we, over here, have long since taken for granted.

(And for my UK compatriots – please click on the title of this post to sign the AVAAZ petition, if you haven’t already. We must refute the lies that are being told to our brothers and sisters across the pond by greedy insurance companies.)


Alexandra Grabbe said...

Thanks so much for this post, Marian! The view of the USA from abroad must be frightening. Sometimes the level of the discussion in the media makes me wish I lived in Europe again!

Gaea Yudron said...

Thanks for posting this. The extreme bizarre beliefs around health care reform in the US are truly shocking. How can folks be this weird? I hope we can arrive at some positive change in the US health care system, which needs a lot of positive change.

I hope that Ronni Bennett's elderblogger campaign through Time Goes By has positive impact.

Betty said...

Hi Marian! Although I have never had the pleasure of visiting your country, friends of mine have reported the same opinion of your national health care system. My fervent hope and wish is that wiser heads prevail here and we can join your country in a rational approach, if not perfect, to universal health care.

lilalia said...

Amen to that! I keep on wondering why so much of the talk is negative about national health programs, when, as you say, the public wouldn't turn back. Yes, each system could improve and many have experienced changes that are not always good. But, they do still work, don't they?

MissDazey said...

I appreciate you telling what health care is like in the UK. You have insight that most of us Americans do not have.

I found you via Ronni blog.

Darlene said...

Thank you so much for helping to refute the lies being spread by the insurance companies about the evils of the health care systems in other countries.

I don't think any system could be much worse than our fractured mess.

Tess said...

Damn straight! Nye Bevan must be spinning in his grave.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

I'm a fellow blogger supporting Ronni's "Day."

Thanks for your fine post. It's astonishing to me that so many Americans fear the type of health care system you enjoy. I doubt that there's a chance we'll get reform that even approaches it, but I do hope we get something that improves on what we have now.

Anonymous said...

Hi I suppose one of many questions the US needs to ask itself. Do I want a Health Service for everyone that is not exclusive only to the people who can afford it?

I agree the NHS is not perfect. These imperfections are partly due to the number of patients it serves every week.

Ultimately that's the principle of universal health care, it's for everyone and unfortunately it will never be perfect for every single person it treats. I am happy to put up with this.

kate said...

Thank you for saying this so well. I have had many British coworkers who, after living in the States for a few years, returned to the UK because of the health benefits.

It really upsets me to see people in my country getting angry over the fact that my government is trying to HELP them by providing insurance. Now that we have lost my esteemed Senator, Ted Kennedy, who battled his whole career for universal coverage, I worry I will never live to see every man, woman and, most importantly, child not have to worry over how they are going to pay for their illnesses.

Excellent post. thank you for visiting my blog, I am glad I returned the visit. -kate

Michele B said...

I am disheartened that we may have no meaningful action on national health insurance. The fear-mongering and half-truths disseminated by the insurance companies and big Pharma have led the public to believe we are better off with the status quo. Health insurance should be non-profit and available to all, as a basic human right.

Sally Lever said...

Hi Marian,

Please excuse my rude interruption of your discussion on health, but it's for a good reason. I'm delighted to pass on the Kreativ Blogger Award to you. You'll see what I'm talking about if you have a look here:

Kind regards, Sally

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

I have been pondering just how well the British health care system works. I doubted critical stories. I am relieved to read your opinion and will be happy to put a link to your blog on mine.

Peri Craig said...

Oh YES! I am astonished at the current U.S. trend AWAY from Universal Healthcare Options! It's positively absurd! Everyone ... or nearly so, it seems, is entrenched in a knee-jerk reaction against "SOCIALISM" (OMG! Socialism! Hitler! Eeek!) Clearly our history classes have not ben adequate, and have confused the issue ... or have they? The very ones screaming NAY are of my own generation. I believe we had pretty much the same classes in school. What must be lacking, then, is common (perhaps sadly UNcommon these days!) sense. People aren't reading / listening past the media grab for ratings.
It IS a bit disheartening. And it seems these are the same ones saying that there is no such thing as Global Warming (or Cooling, if you prefer the Russian's ice-core sampling) ... but wanting to stockpile weaponry for "the inevitable." It makes one rather sad to be counted among the numbers. This is NOT the America my ancestors came to in the 1600's ... nor the one so many died for. I'm not sure quite WHAT it is anymore ... but it IS rather frightening.