Monday, August 17, 2009

At least the Americans are having a serious debate about healthcare

The most depressing thing about Daniel Hannan's recent outburst over the NHS is the total lack of debate in the UK over the whole subject. It has all been reduced to a juvenile slanging match over "Our wonderful NHS vs America's heartless private healthcare system".

Everyone, even Obama's opponents, agree that the US healthcare system is in serious need of reform, and they all have different ideas about what needs to be done, but at least they are having a debate about it.

Meanwhile, our response in the UK has been little more than yankee bashing with all the usual ignorant nonsense about Americans without healthcare insurance being left to die at the scene of an accident.

Question: Why does no one in the UK ever discuss the alternative systems in much of Europe where they have a hybrid system of both universal coverage but also private sector provision of healthcare? Answer: Because no one, even the Tories it seems, wants to harm the status quo. Tony Blair's tenuous reforms aimed at bringing more private sector healthcare provision were met with howls of protest about how immoral it is for private companies to profit out of people's health.

Our overcentralised Soviet era healthcare system is not "the envy of the world" and it's about time we grew up and starting taking a serious look at what our European neighbours are doing to improve people's health rather than obsessing about US healthcare.