OneCare supporter Norm Ewers tells us he shared with his doctors the following excerpt of a letter to the editor from the Jan. 9, 2011, edition of the Orange County Register:
…I told my (doctor friend visiting from England who appeared to be extremely healthy) the editorial pages of The Register and the letters from readers have told me for months how bad the British national health system is. The doctor and his wife smiled broadly as they told me how everyone in England laughs loudly when they hear about the battle over health care in the United States. Your politicians telling the people how bad a national health care program is the joke of the year for us…He assured me that he owns his own office, which he is expanding, hires his own staff, gets paid well by the government for each patient he sees-and has no problems referring to specialists…./s/ Martin A. Brower, Corona Del Mar.
Along with Canada’s Medicare system, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) is a favorite whipping horse of the anti-health reform zealots here in the United States. When the healthcare debate was raging in Congress and around the country in 2009, the shock troops for the insurance industry went on American media outlets to bash the NHS, spreading lies about the system, and calling it dangerous “socialized medicine” that the U.S. must avoid. Even a conservative member of the British parliament appeared on American television telling audiences how bad he thought the NHS is. The British people were pretty outraged. Not only was this an attack on a beloved institution that’s as ingrained as the monarchy, but an attack on British values. That conservative lawmaker? He was quickly slapped down by his colleagues. Watch:
Here is an interview with a reporter from The Guardian in 2009:
It’s important to emphasize that most U.S. health reform activists like California OneCare are not advocating for the British system. In the NHS, most health providers are employed by the government and financing is through general taxation. However, a small percentage of providers are private. California OneCare and other reformers want a single payer system – OneCare’s SB 810 or an improved Medicare for all – which is not “socialized,” because while financing is public through taxes, all health providers remain in the private sphere.
Nevertheless, the NHS in Britain is extremely popular. Instead of listening to lies spread by unscrupulous politicians, media personalities and industry hacks, our citizens should hear what ordinary Brits think about their system. Yes, they acknowledge that the NHS needs improving, but they firmly want to keep it. Once Californians and the nation experience the benefits of national health insurance, we’ll never want to give it up either. That’s why opponents of national health care have to lie. We must not let our fellow citizens be misled by con artists. They must hear the truth from our friends across the pond, ordinary folks just like them:
A 1948 public service film introducing the British people to the NHS
An American in England interviews people about the benefits they get from the NHS
Londoners are asked what they think of the NHS
A British union defends the NHS