Those American TV ads that show a handful of British patients and doctors warning of the perils of socialized medicine have my relatives and friends “over the pond” shaking their heads in disbelief.
Sure, Britons love to whine (or whinge, as they sometimes prefer to put it) about their publicly funded health care system, the National Health Service (NHS). And there are many ways they’d like the system improved. But get rid of it and adopt the American model of delivering health care? No way.
In fact, the topic — and those ads — came up a few weeks back on one of my favorite British radio shows, “The News Quiz”. (It’s sort of the British version of National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”)
The show’s host asked 27-year-old British comedienne Josie Long, “Why is the “special relationship” [between the United States and Britain] in poor health?”
Her answer (which I’ve transcribed from my stored podcast of the show; the original is no longer available for listening online) is pretty much what I hear during my frequent visits to Britain:
It’s to do with the … lobbyists who are trying to stop President Obama from doing good and saving the world, like he’s supposed to do. They’re saying, “Oh, no, you can’t spend any money on the health system because look at the NHS. It’s rubbish.”
I can’t help but feel really personally insulted by [that]. All right, come on, we’re trying as hard as we can. Like, leave us alone. … The whole logic of the argument is completely incorrect. [They’re basically saying], “Well, if we got some sort of comparable NHS, there would be waiting lists.”
Yeah, best not to have [a nationalized health system] if you’re going to have to wait.
If I’m going to have to wait, I’d rather just die.