Socialized Medicine Part 2

I found this interesting article on the internet which I would like to share with the readers of my blog, and which I am sure many will find interesting, thought-provoking and extremely relevant to my current theme. This is written by a young aspiring politician in the UK.


Socialized Medicine Part 2

I found this interesting article on the internet which I would like to share with the readers of my blog, and which I am sure many will find interesting, thought-provoking and extremely relevant to my current theme. This is written by a young aspiring politician in the UK.

It's been a while since something got me so riled as the debates going on the in US about healthcare. So while the old political Dave is back I thought i would put my thoughts down.

In Europe, the arguments over universal healthcare were over decades ago: all that remains is a polite discussion of how best to fund them. But in the US, the idea that government should have any place in the relationship between doctor and patient remains controversial to many, and a red rag to a few. Less than 20% of Amerians believe their healthcare system is in crisis - a proportion that has not changed in 15 years. Based on healthcare insurance, supplemented for the over 65s, and Medicare for the poor, at best the system is good. So where is the problem? Well premiums are rising fast. We call it an excess, I believe you call it deductables. For almost 20% of those insured, deductables exceed $1000. A lot of fat cats are getting fatter on the backs of many who can ill afford to spend as much on insurance. At best healthcare in the US is outstanding. But as a sytem judged on quality, access, equity and healthy lives, US medicine lags behind the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany and New Zealand, according to the Commonwealth Fund. The US scores well on rapid access (second only to Germany). Americans however do not put equity, access and efficiency as high on their list and are seemingly unaware that their expensive system doesn't, on the whole, deliver good results. In 2007 the US spent 16.2% ($2.2trn) of GDP on healthcare, against the UK's 8.4%.

I think it is important that we both realise the reasons for the radically different national consciousness both our nations have. To do this we need a little history lesson. Britons, along with their neighbours in Europe, were for centuries forced to live under a system of government that abused their power, it's citizens and it's wealth. At a time when Britain enjoyed the largest modern Empire the world has ever seen along with the wealthiest economy it has ever had the majority of it's people IN Britain were left to starve. The Empire was built on the backs of the poor yet none of the wealth filtered down to them, they were in essence slaves of the Empire not subjects of the of the ruling nation. Consequently resentment showed itself in many ways, one of them being socialism and the other a want, even need, to free ones self from the ruling elite. The 'American' war of independence happened because those Europeans living in the new land had chose the second option. Centuries of maltreatment errupted when opportunity for a new nation presented itself. In wasn't infact a war of independence but a civil war, a revolution against the ruling elite and only happened because of centuries of social evolution. It was a chance that Europeans living in the mother nations didn't have. So you now have two sets of Europeans. On one side of the Atlantic the very same Europeans have now become Americans with a distrust at best and resentment at worst to socialist values. The reason for this resentment and mistrust is because they never needed the help of a socialist system, for they were already free from the shackles they once had. On the other side of the Atlantic however the struggle continued as did the resentment. Socialist movements grew and a shift in thinking eventually followed.

Now there are two events that changed things forever, the First and Second World Wars. A shift in thinking had now taken place. Europeans needed to be looked after and their nations needed to be nurtured and re-built. It is because of this that Europe has a different view of the role of government than America. The government is there to serve the people, but it is also there to look after its citizens. People were living in broken countries and were destitute. The vast majority of people simply could not afford medical costs and quite simply a welfare state wasn't an option it was a necessity. The state of the nations health had to become a politcal idea and it must remain that way.

You talk about equal opportunities in a way that makes it sound like a uniquely American idea, i assure you it is not. The most important word is not that off opportunity but that of equal - equality. All of us are equal, from the very rich to the very poor. We are all the same and as a result should all be treated in the same way. Most in Europe have had the opportunity to develop and they have been enjoying it on a national level for far longer than America. In 1955 a black man in London would have the same freedom and opportunity as a white man sitting next to him, i don't think the same can be said for the US. Freedom and equality for all or only if your face fits and you have the money?

An insurance system by way of private companies promotes resentment towards those who, for whatever reason, do not pay their way. You will always get free loaders and like you I have a deep distain for them. Believe me we have many of them in this country but i don't think we should let them ruin it for the majority of people who simply cannot afford to pay their way. Should we go back to the days of Oliver Twist and adopt a laissez farie attitude towards social care because of the few that abuse the system or should we maintain a level of national care that will continue to see increasing living standards for the masses? I pay 11% of my wage for National Insurance. That 11% will pay the bills if i lose my job; fix my arm if it is broken; provide money should i become too sick to work; give me a pension in my old age and provide me with a payment to help me cope with loss should my partner die. It also ensures that those same benefits apply to those who do not work but do I resent that? The answer is no. Should little Jonny down the road suffer in poverty because his mum is a drug addict and sponges of the state or should the state be there to provide cradle to grave care for him? What is the point in having equal opportunities if you can not reach them? If you begin life in the gutter it is almost impossible to benefit from such opportunities without a helping hand from the government.

In America there is simply a lack of consensus around the idea that universal healthcare is an ideal worth striving for. In Europe it was made part of our 'new start' after WW2 and we cannot imagine a world without it. Individualism brought us two world wars and saw millions dead. Those who weren't dead were forced to live in poverty. The US however saw no reason to abandon individualism, and now it is much harder to do so. While the protests have been orchestrated, they would not have occured at all unless they chimed with deep and strongly-felt sentiments.

I believe that by the strength of our common endeavor we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realize our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.

You see for us it is more than healthcare. Our National Health Service (NHS) is a reminder that the days of the lives described in Dickens novels are gone forever and while the NHS exists they will not return. For that reason we love our NHS and it should be the envy of the world.

Geek - probably, boring - certainly not....

RN with 26 years of experience many of those years spent in dialysis. I have worked in acute care, home, ICHD as a CN, FA, and currently a director.

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57 Posts

Difference between the countries "The United States Constitution." Everyone here has the opportunity to improve their life. Yes, it can be difficult, it can be done. I do not have a problem assisting those in need. I do draw the line with my hard work providing for those who sit on their butts. Recall, people left England because of it's need to dictate to the people.

I see no problem in assisting with the need to see that all have the health care they may need, just leave my insurance alone. Government does not belong in our lives. it exists to help run the country not to run the people.

madwife2002, BSN, RN

74 Articles; 4,777 Posts

Specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN. Has 26 years experience.

It could be said most countries like to dictate to other countries hence the wars through out the world.

Great Britain which includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland did indeed go around the world 'dictating' to others, they dont have much of a say anymore do they.

I think valuable lessons can be learn't from countries already utilising 'socialised medicine' and from the people in those countries we can gain a greater appreciation of what socialised medicine has meant to them.

It is always good to glean perspectives from non nursing people on their idea of health care and I do believe 'Dave" presents an interesting view.

nursemike, ASN, RN

1 Article; 2,362 Posts

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro). Has 12 years experience.

I think a lot of the problem lies in the term socialized. We tend, I think, to associate socialism with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I've never been to Europe--well, I was born there, but I was too little to remember it--and I've barely set foot in Canada, but what I've seen in the media about, say, Sweden, doesn't look all that totalitarian. Britain is an island nation, but it isn't just off the coast of Florida. Still, a lot of Americans, in their politics, seem to have trouble distinguishing community from communism.

Which is sad, because we have a real tradition of community. When I was young, my father and I suffered a tragic loss, and an entire small town of total strangers took us into their bosom and cared for us like family. I will never forget those people. But as wonderful and special as they were, similar acts of utter charity happen somewhere almost daily. You can get a pretty ugly picture of Americans from TV news, but up close and in person, an awful lot of us are decent on a fundamental level.

It doesn't seem to me that current proposals for health care reform have all that much in common with Britain's NHS. Sounds more to me like an expanded version of Medicare and Medicaid, and while it might likely put a dent in the financial community's cash cow, it should be a big help to those too poor for private insurance, but too "wealthy" for Medicaid.

Right now, I have private insurance through me employer. It has all of the drawbacks cited for universal coverage. It's expensive. I am not free to see any doctor I want to--well, I am, but if he or she isn't in my program, I have to pay out of pocket. Some treatments--even potientially life-saving ones--are not covered because they are "experiemental." If I have a stroke or an MI or a severe trauma, I go right through the ED. If I need carpal tunnel surgery, I may have to wait for an opening.

I truly believe we need universal access. I just wish someone could find a way to sell it as a barn-raising and not as Big Brother. But, of course, some very wealthy interests have a huge stake in painting it as Big Brother.


57 Posts

We do not need univeral healthcare. Canada's system is going to implode on itself.

I have insurance and I see any physician I want. I do not wait weeks or even months for care. I saw my doctor last Monday and this Wednesday I m having surgery. I do not care for any healthcare that has the government directing. I am for getting medical access for those who do not have insurance but please leave mine along. It is true that you get what you pay for.


403 Posts

I have experienced both and the NHS has many many faults waiting time are apauling no matter how the figurs are distorted, the concept behind any national health system is fantastic but it cost money and lots of it.

Dave says if he gets ill the state will pay i wonder if he realizes how much SSP is it certainly wouldnt pay my bills in the UK, and the pension has never kept up with inflation ask any pensioner in the UK exactly how much they live on it is ridiculas and dont get started on wait times in A & E if you do break your arm, it is not all roses neither system is but i do think there will be some kind of system brought in over here in the US and it will not be brought in quietly or to sounds of appaluse 10 yrs from now it will still be debated as is the NHS decades later


90 Posts

A few have mentioned about long-term viability. The alternative doesn't seem to fix the problem either.


628 Posts

i am in immigrant from the uk, and have experienced care both sides of the atlantic. from what i have experienced in the us, is that the government dont run your health care system because after all that is known as socialised medicine and god help us if the americans allow that! but the americans do allow any insurance company that they pay through their employment to have the say in their health care, it could be just any old joe bloggs who is telling you that you are denied health care, and of course they get bonuses for saying that to you. the american health system works for those of us in jobs that have good health insurance and are not really sick,,,,you know sick for longer than 12 weeks because after that you dont really have a job anymore. as far as i can see what is happening around me, socialised medicine is already here for those of you work its called insurance companies and for those who have nothing inarizona its called achss, there are wait times in the uk, but from the moment i was born and my mother had free maternity care while she was carrying me to free birth for me and free care throughout my whole life which then continued into my own life, i didnt appreciate socialised medicine until i was without it. the ordinary american just doesnt know what they are saying no to......theres nothing worse than having a medical crisis happen in your life and not only is the worry about the recovery from it, but then having to worry about paying the bills that come afterwards, and thats with good health insurance!


34 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Critical Care, Public Health. Has 24 years experience.

The protests around the country really hurt my heart to the core, and in the eyes of the world we have made ourselves small. How could we influence other nations to treat their citizens with dignity and respect when we ourselves do not. This is the height of hypocrisy.

I believe health care is a right for all people. We all will get sick someday, and those of us with insurance should not take it for granted, because it is not guaranteed. "unforeseen events befall us all, for man does not know his time. Just like fishes that are being taken in an evil net, and like birds that are being taken in a trap, so the sons of men themselves are being ensnared at a calamitous time, when it falls upon them suddenly" (ecclesiastes 9: 11,12).

Yes time and chance, which often means being in the wrong place at the wrong time, often wrecks our carefully laid plans and fondest hopes. Powerful forces completely beyond our control also dominate our lives and dictate what happens to us. So, as humans first, we should look out for one another because "we are thy brother's keeper."

madwife2002, BSN, RN

74 Articles; 4,777 Posts

Specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN. Has 26 years experience.

Well said Cariad thank you

Grace Oz

1,294 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/Ortho/HH/Radiology-Now Retired.

Thanks for posting that excellent article, Madwife!

As I posted elsewhere, no system is totally flawless.

However as an Australian living with our own Aussie national health system, I have to say my experience as both a consumer of it and a nurse - (now retired) - having worked within it, I support it.

Of course there are flaws ... show me anything which isn't flawed!

Overall though, the system here in Oz does work.

And you know what? Even though I have top private health insurance cover which enables me to make choices, last year when I experienced a cardiac event, and was transported via ambulance to the casualty dept.- ( I refuse to call it A&E or ED or ER or any other newfangled fancy names used in the current times! Tradition ya know?! lol) - I could not fault the treatment and care I received in one of our public hospitals.

Top class threatment all round! And further ...... even though I have the private insurance cover, I never received one single bill!

The hospital had every right to treat me as a private pt. and recover some cash, but no, I was afforded every possible thing plus some, and paid nothing!

Should I feel bad about that?

Heck no!

I have paid the Medicare levy from my income ever since it was introduced into our country.

That I choose also to have private health insurance, is my own choice.

That because I hold private insurance but am able to be treated the same as any other citizen, with or without private insurance, in our public hospitals and not be charged for the treatment/admission etc, I think is wonderful.

No discrimination.

No prejudice.

Nothing but the very best health care in the world!

Unless I'm not seeing something and am missing something in all this ... IMHO .... I think it works for everyone!


90 Posts

Canada's Health Care system is "imploding????" What??? How can this be??? Just throw more money at it, right? Sadly, that IS the only answer if Canada is to continue it's Socialist Health Care System. (As I have pointed out correctly and tirelessly many many times) Is there anyone who can LOGICALLY continue to defend Canada's System now? Please read the link below.

I have also pointed out correctly and tirelessly many many times, NO Business is sustainable long-term without competition, an incentive to profit, and price control that is FREELY and PURELY driven by customer demand. By it's very nature, Federal Government stifles and restricts all 3 of these. Unfortunately, America has forgotten this too. But I have confidence and I truly believe in my heart that America WILL wake up soon.