Monday, November 9, 2009

Guest Post - The Irate Dog

This logo is exclusive property of "The Irate Dog," authorized for use ONLY on this site. Use this image, and I will kill you, with my own two hands.

Our guest, who is also a regular reader and a follower of this site, has chosen to speak about health care, and in particular, health care in the UK. The name of his blog is "The Irate Dog."

After talking at lengths on BlogCatalog, Jeremy and I decided I should write a guest post for his blog. After flicking through his posts and editorials I landed on one particular post that caught my eye; “Healthcare Co-ops - The Third Option”.

We all know that healthcare has been the subject of heated debate over in the USA in recent months - coming to a peek at Obama/Hitler posters being brandished (that scene still confuses me. How can Obama be compared to a fascist when his idea for national healthcare takes him to the the opposite direction ideologically?). Unfortunately a lot of public outrage at the idea of a national healthcare system is based on a distinct lack of knowledge. For example that classically ignorant argument that came out of the US that said that if Stephen Hawking were treated by the NHS he would be dead - a case clearly made in the heat of the moment because Stephen Hawking was and is in fact treated by the NHS and has said himself that he owes them his life.

I’d like to take this opportunity to explain my own country’s healthcare system. For me it is the crowning jewel of the post war Labour government. It is not, as apparently many Americans would describe it, an institution of Death Panels and inferior-quality healthcare. It is not a last resort. It is not an example of a Communist or Socialist victory.

It is, in short, magnificent. It is, excluding dentistry and some prescriptions, free at the point of use. You go in, you see a personal General Practitioner, you go out. Not a penny has left for wallet, your bank account or your insurance company. This means two very important things. 1)Diseases can be caught earlier and 2) Poorer people can get the same healthcare as everyone else.

Think about it. In a country where there is an economical dis-incentive to seek medical attention people will tend to leave things be and see if they get better. If they don’t get better, they then go to the doctors and find out they have something “that wouldn’t have been a problem if only you’d come to us sooner”. Here in the UK, you can have a slight sniff, maybe a cough, and go straight to your GP without any monetary worries at all. That means serious diseases, cancer etc. are caught much earlier and things can be done about them much more easily.

People say the NHS is a Socialist, even Communist idea as if that was supposed to be insulting. Well, if it was so terrible, wouldn’t the various right-wing political parties in the UK want to get rid of it? The Conservative party (who are likely to gain power again next year) are doing no such thing - just like always. They have in fact pledged to fund it better and make it more efficient. Even the BNP (the most right-wing party we have) isn’t talking about getting rid of the NHS. Why? Because it is a genuinely genius idea and there would be public uproar if it were taken away.

Here in the UK you see a lot in the news about long waiting lists and patients having to wait on trolleys for days on end before they get a bed. But the fact is, at least those instances are unique enough to warrant their own news headline. It is not a trend but a hot topic that sells newspapers. Like all teenagers being anti-social and a terror to society - yes, a great story, but totally inaccurate and frankly insulting.

That’s all from me. I hope Jeremy and I continue to trade posts like this. It’s been a very good experience.



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(For your personal convenience, the post that caught Tom's interest can be found here.)

1 comment:

Jeremy Janson said...

I'm surprised no one has responded to this yet Tom. Actually a little disappointed. If no one responds in another week or so, I'll give my own reply.