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Healthcare in the UK
#1
I notice that there has been some discussion of our National Health Service on the Covid-19 threads. Since there are so many people from the USA on here I thought it worth starting a different thread to discuss what to some has been made to see like an extraordinary attachment to our style of healthcare.

Before the 1946 Act of Parliament which paved the way for our welfare state people were left to die if they couldn't manage to haul themselves out of poverty enough to be able to afford assistance. Our class-based society rarely allowed for people to better themselves. In many ways people were as fatalistic as if it were a caste system; people were expected to know their places and where they should fit into the system. The deference paid to those higher up the class ladder was embedded just as it had been during the feudalism of the middle ages or when the established church threatened all sinners with eternal damnation.

The aftermath of the second world war brought many changes including the welfare state which included universal healthcare. For the first time, everyone would be able to access healthcare when they needed it. It wasn't just a given, doctors were vociferous against the proposal. Our healthcare system, free at the point of use, was established in 1948. We have enjoyed the benefits for a very long time. The nature of health support has changed since the time of Margaret Thatcher, who started to unravel many of the advantages of the welfare state. However, even she did not dare go as as far as David Cameron when he introduced a new act in 2012 removing the requirement for the secretary of state to be responsible for the healthcare system. Since that time we have seen greater involvement of insurance companies and private interests with all the paraphernalia of administrators, shareholders and their thirst for profits add to the costs of healthcare.  These costs were simply not there under the NHS as originally intended.

At the moment, most of the health care I require is free to me as a patient although I actually grew up in a system where everything, including dental treatment and eye care would not cost me or my parents a penny. Gradually I have seen the erosion of those free services. Now many parts of the healthcare system have been farmed out to private providers and the costs to the nation have increased as more snouts have pushed their way to the trough. A far smaller percentage of what was once spent on the NHS is now used directly for medical services. This is conveniently painted as a scene where the costs have increased very dramatically and the system of healthcare is coming unravelled. It is paving the way for an American-style insurance based system, the like of which fills me and most other citizens of the UK with fear and horror. Political ideology has been used to strip away a safety net that held all of us safe and has been very deeply embedded in our national identity. This was never communism or anything like it. It is shocking to discover just how many members of our present government, their advisors, family members and friends have financial interests in private healthcare or lobbying companies and take a cut from the healthcare services for which we pay our taxes. I as a private citizen am essentially contributing to shareholder dividends. That should be seen as corruption.

Many, if not most of the people in the UK regard with fascination and horror the situation in the USA where a fifth of the population have no access to healthcare. We thank our lucky stars that we don't have that risk here ... yet. One of my children is a dentist in Colorado and for a few days every year he works for free offering dental treatment to people who could not otherwise afford it. I'm guessing that many people live in pain as a daily experience. On those days he sees queues of people that stretch round the block. This strikes him, and me, as utterly barbaric. At the very least it strips away people's dignity as they are forced to see themselves as charity cases rather than functioning citizens in a fully functioning society. How can the richest country in the world treat its citizens so poorly? We don't get it. It seems entirely avoidable. I realise I may be the victim of propaganda, although I do believe my son who has no vested interest in working for free. I have another son in the USA who lost his job a few months ago and is praying that no one in his family becomes ill or has an accident. He cannot afford insurance and the costs of being ill would cripple him. At least he would have the option of returning to the UK ...

So, for the time being, healthcare for most of us is still essentially free, paid for out of our taxes. We have to pay a contribution to the costs of dental care, optician appointments and prescribed medicines. Those costs have risen substantially over my lifetime since the charges were introduced. In many places, such as my nearest town, there is no NHS dental service on offer. I needed a filling replaced a couple of years ago and was shocked at the cost I had to pay. That was merely for the filling. Under the NHS it would have also included routine examination, x-rays and maintenance and it was also shocking that none of this was offered, but it was a taste of the future.

The extraordinary decision to leave the European Union is proving traumatic for many. It will get worse after the end of this year. I don't intend to get into arguments with anyone over this, although I am happy to be corrected if I have made factual errors. I hope this goes some way to explaining our attachment to our heath service.

Here is a video that goes into some more of the detail:

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#2
But, but the free market can provide health services better and cheaper - he said naively. Grrrr, neoliberalism has a lot to answer for.
Bernd

Being gay is not for Sissies.
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#3
You're right not to trust the higher ups in the UK pushing a private system. In fact, many European companies that operate in the USA fund and push propaganda at Americans that demonizes socialized medicine - something these companies' home countries take for granted.

The heartlessness of this agenda creates a very heartless attitude towards human life. Just a while ago here in the states, a woman told one of our senators at a conference that she had cancer and couldn't afford treatment, and the asswipe senator told her tough tiddy said the kitty, and compared it to not having enough money to buy luxuries (as if not having enough money to save your life is the same as not having enough money to buy a Louis Vuitton handbag).

This mindset has turned America into a healthcare hellhole, where working people are literally dying because they can't afford insulin (and before anyone cares to defend our heartless convoluted system by saying you should just live a healthy lifestyle, remember there are many people born with health complications). Meanwhile, insulin can be purchased in Canada with no insurance for a tenth of what it is in the states. It's disgusting to think of how the inventors of insulin sold the insulin patent for a dollar so that it would be universal, and now greedy companies are price gauging it to the point where people are literally dying.

Be very wary of privatized healthcare. It is not a path you want to go down.
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#4
@Chase Thanks for that. I thought as much.

Thanks also for putting me right about European companies being responsible for propaganda in the USA. I hadn't considered that the USA would need assistance with that, but when I think about it, British, Swiss, German and French companies probably have a lot to answer for.

It is definitely not a path I want to go down at all. The investigative journalist John Pilger also made an important film called, "The Dirty War On The NHS". If you get a chance to watch it I recommend it. Unfortunately, national television here in the UK was prevented from showing the film before our last general election. I don't know whether it would have made a difference to the outcome, but it wouldn't have done any harm to those of us who are resisting these changes. It might have prevented the present government having such a huge majority that they can (and have been) doing exactly what they like.
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#5
On answering the questions I had on healthcare in the UK it does seem that at least in the current state, no brainier, it is better than what we have here in the US. At least in terms of availability to the general population. I, personally, don't mind paying a $5...20 co-pay, even at that price, there are people who might not have that either.

@Chase does bring up the ugly truth about how we in the US value people. One of my "friends" whose partner owns a local radio station. They live pretty well off, have a nice 3 story house on top of a mountain. This guy has a job at the county dept. of social services, so they deal with all sorts of people who have problems, things like applicants for food stamps and so on. His comment on the subject of people losing their job was "they should have saved for a rainy day." I tried to explain that a lot of people don't make enough money to really save much of anything. Of course he brings up how wasteful people are and people with expensive phones and that they don't need all that stuff. Just the attitude towards poor people and the lack of understanding of basic math and more importantly humanity. Just sad. The thing is his partner, who owns the radio station, is a nice guy...and I've watched his partner become this awful judgmental person. If it weren't for him, he wouldn't be living his life of luxury that's for sure.

I'm not going to deny being a spoiled little shit but I try to remind myself of the reality of this world and be more grateful of where I am. It is very easy to judge people, very easy to just assume that all these people going to get whatever it is, food stamps, filing for bankruptcy are just low life pieces of shit and don't deserve anything. Who and when did anyone get the right to determine whether someone's life is worth saving, when did someone's life become what their net worth is?

@Chase Who was that senator that said that. I feel like I remember hearing something about that but not sure...

@marshlander It is a shame. People here are so damn easy to fool, not sure if people are like that across the pond or not. I mean I know I'm not the smartest peanut in the turd but sometimes I wonder how people came to believe in such nonsense and can't be bothered to educate themselves. People just associate that socialism is bad, not how it actually works or they make loose comparisons and associations to stuff like the Soviet Union or Marxism or whatever it is, they like those buzzwords a lot because it is used to entice fear. Never mind that socialized healthcare works in other countries, but but Venezuela! If anything just proves that people, at least in the US, they just want to win an argument, not be right, not actually think things through. It is worrisome, not sure I like where we're headed in this country. I like being optimistic but I see so many people divided about stuff and often enough both sides don't know what the fuck they're divided about.

Anywho...I'll get off my soapbox.
Chickity China, the Chinese chicken
You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'


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#6
(09-16-2020, 06:03 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: @Chase Who was that senator that said that. I feel like I remember hearing something about that but not sure...

It was Senator Thom Tillis:

https://twitter.com/KristenClarkeJD/stat...9051598848
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#7
(09-16-2020, 08:08 PM)Chase Wrote:
(09-16-2020, 06:03 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: @Chase Who was that senator that said that. I feel like I remember hearing something about that but not sure...

It was Senator Thom Tillis:

https://twitter.com/KristenClarkeJD/stat...9051598848

Oh it was a staffer, not that it makes any difference. I'm almost certain Thom shares the same sentiment, he's a piece of crap.
Chickity China, the Chinese chicken
You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'


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#8
(09-17-2020, 02:09 AM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: Oh it was a staffer, not that it makes any difference. I'm almost certain Thom shares the same sentiment, he's a piece of crap.

My mistake. The conservative commentator (or whatever he is) Ben Shapiro compared healthcare to furniture shopping. Of course, the so-called liberal commentators aren't saints either, and that's in regards to their own cause. Bill Maher for example has referred to socialism as "Santa-ism" before.
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