Wednesday, August 12, 2009


MEP Hannan Hannan Traduces NHS to USA

On 30th July, The Economist discerned it was 'Crunch Time' for Obama over the issue of health reform. His attempts to enfranchise 50 million of his countrymen and women into the otherwise best health system in the world, is threatened by misreprentation by republicans and their friends working for lobbyists of the sprawling mainly privately owned US health service. Summoned to assist, the been the briefly Youtube celebrated Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, recently addressed the Army and Navy Club in Washington. The Washinton Times 7th August, warmly appreciated his efforts:

Mr. Hannan made a convincing case that the American
health care system is far superior to the British one, and thus should not
move down Britain's path toward government control.
"Ponder our example, and tremble," Mr. Hannan warned. "You see a grizzly
picture of your own country's possible future. . .. Do not make the same
mistakes we have."* *He continued: "I see this massive encroachment of the
state... this huge power grab by the state machine... squeezing the private
sector, to engorge the state." In Great Britain, he explained, "It is not
uncommon to wait six, 10, even 12 months for a knee operation." He said, *"It
is exactly a Marxist system. You are treated as a supplicant and expected
to be grateful for what you get. But our survival rates [in the United
Kingdom] are demonstrably worse."

What total, pathetic and near criminal rubbish! A Marxist system? The NHS is many things- and not all of them good- but this is adjective is surely meaningless and crude abuse by a none too bright carper-bagging politician, trying to pay for his summer holiday by echoing the lies of those out to ruin Obama's health reforms; just as they did Clinton's in the early 1990s. Poor Americans who fall ill face the bleakest of futures. No hospital will accept someone seriously ill unless they can pay and they get passed from one location to another, often dying alone while those who can afford the insurance do indeed rreceive the best care in the world. Over here, people with terminal cancers receive the best care available, irrespectrive of their income.

The slur about waiting lists might have been true under the Tories when the NHS was allowed to run down and atrophy, but it is definitely not the case now, thanks to the refunding this often wrongly maligned government has channelled into it. To suggest otherwise, in these circumstances is despicable, given the how high the stakes are over this for the American poor.

Finally, we are not 'expected to feel grateful'. I received wonderful treatment by NHS doctors and nurses when I had a stroke in 1992- when it was so badly run down I had to sleep in a corridor during my first night in hospital- and nobody put any pressure whatsoever on me to be grateful. But you can bet I bloody well was.

No Hannan is right.

It is the NHS that is pathetic and criminal. Marxist about covers it as far as the NHS goes. Both are controlling, morally corrosive, intellectually backward and belong in a bygone era.

Survival rates in the US ARE much higher. Their system IS much better.

Let's be honest here, Hannan would find it far easier to pay for his holiday if he went over to America and parroted the Obama/leftist line.

Waiting lists here are still longer than America. Now Skipper if you wish to chance your arm in an NHS hospital, dodge the inept staff and duck MRSA, that is your prerogative. If that makes you feel virtuous and egalitarian, then I wish you well. But don't blame others who wish for better.

Hannan's comment that "we are expected to be grateful" is right. I have friends(not close friends I hasten to add) who complain about the uselessness of the NHS and then say in the same breath, "of course we are lucky to have it", as though there is no alternative. By being the weaalthiest nation in the world, with the best healthcare system in the world, the Americans have shown us that there is another way. A way where people take responsibility for themselves, and a way where the government leaves us alone to get the best healthcare we can afford. The Left have effectively shut down the debate in this country on the NHS. The only difference between their scare stories and the American kind you take such offence at, is that the UK Left have institutionalised their fear mongering. So that any reform to a system that belongs in the 1940's is "privatising the NHS". But people in America know what they are getting with this. They have read it. Having their private insurance removed, being foisted into crap state hospitals and having to account for themselves when they become "too expensive" to justify their existence. And they don't like it. I have been all over the world. I can assure you that British hospitals are BY FAR the worst I have ever been in. The staff don't care, noone takes responsibility, you wait for ages and even the buildings aren't clean. Any American who wants to copy that is digging their grave.

BTW it wasn't lies that did for the Clinton plan. It was the truth. Americans didn't fight the Cold War just to hand over the country to the Reds after 1992. Obama seems determined to martyr himself on this issue. I relish the struggle. The man has no American values in any case. This issue will mobilise and unite the right. And when that happens in America, they always win. Bring it on.
I rather expected something like this from you and, though I rarely say this of your comments, it is rubbish. I said rubbish.

Few would dispute that the NHS is inferior in some ways to the US model but how do you explain the fact that:

i) 50 million Americans are not covered by health insurance and are left to the vagaries of chance their health will hold out- and no-one's does indefinitely. Do you expect the millions on minimum wage with chidren to support, to pay the very high insurance premiums?

ii) the NHS is ranked 18th in the world by the World Health Organisation.

iii) the US system is ranked, by the WHO, as 37th.

iv) life expectancy is higher in the UK than the USA where its poor inegalitarian system brings it down.

v) 62% of Americans in a recent poll want to reform their own system.
i) Yes I do.
ii) and iii) WHO = joke
iv) Obesity
v) See Yes Minister for value of polling data
Now you are just 'avin a larf'; no substitute for reasoned argument and you know it.
With all respect Skipper, my reply to the article was a reasoned argument. Short of repeating myself, it's hard to know where to go with that.

If you want depth...UK life expectancy is below that of Libya and Albania(and merely seven months greater than the US). This fact rather makes me think that life expectancy is a more complicated measurement than a simple comparison of health service efficiency. It seems you are seeing what you want in that set of statistics.

The WHO ranks Germany at 25. You must be joking. Their hospitals are far superior to the NHS. It makes you doubt the rest of their research. But then the UN is an inept anachronism, so maybe they know one when they see one. The WHO also shows that the USA spends almost twice as much on their healthcare as the UK. But then that is what happens when you have responibility in a system. We fund it by tax, and of course the Government welches on spending the necessary cash.

You have said 62% wanted reform. One poll. One time. That means 38% don't want any reform. And what kind of reform do the supposed 62% want? All more power to the state? Doubt it. And they certainly won't when this debate is through. In fact today's Guardian(that friend of American values) indicates that Americans are 49-43 against healthcare reform, and these results have held for the last three weeks. Indeed this debate might be the Republicans' chance to really damage Obama's presidency and let the American people see him for the charlatan he is. I see his rating are down as well...

Reasoned debate on this subject won't help you Skip.
To be fair Skip, I did reasoned argument in my original reply. And I would hardly call "rubbish" reasoned argument. You want detail...

Life expectancy is hardly an effective measurement of the functionality of society(if such a thing exists in the 21st century) and the merits of a healthcare system. US life expectancy is seven months less than the UK. Hardly conclusive. And in fact life expectancy is higher in Albania and Libya. Very functional societies(!). Perhaps this proves that life expectancy is a rather more complex measurement than you suggest.

And yes, I do expect people to look after themselves. This crisis should have taught us nothing if not to live within our means. Too many in Britain simply rely on the efforts of others. As Government balances its books, and banks shut down loony credit, these people will learn the hard way. Good.

As for the WHO...I note Germany is at no.25, below the UK. Ever been in German hospitals? They are far superior to the NHS. There are several other remarkable examples in this table. Makes me doubt the validity of the "research". But then the WHO is a minion of the UN, so it should know an anachronism when it sees one.

And apparently 62% of Americans want healthcare reform. I mean really? One poll. One place. One time. Proof that you can get people to say anything if you set the questions up right. Am tempted to call that "rubbish". Yesterday's Guardian(that paragon of responsibility and self-help) suggests otherwise. It suggests that 49% oppose reform, with only 43% in favour. Further, it suggests that this figure has been consistent for more than three weeks. The morons in the comments section can squeal like babies all they like because the American people oppose their Weltanschauung. Even in their disgusting rags, Americans oppose the collectivisation of healthcare.

This issue will allow the right to smash Obama, in the same way it smashed Clinton. I note his figures are falling already...and the fun hasn't even started yet. Am beginning to think that this issue could be Obama's Gotterdammerung.
Your last comment certainly not 'rubbish', I'm the first to allow. As always we have to disagree, which is as it should be. I concede you are right about WHO rankings- Sweden should never be below UK, nor Germany which cared for my mother's last illness when the NHS refused even to do the necessary tests. That was under a Tory government mind you.

And life expectancy is only an approximate measurement I also agree. I think the thing which separates us- is not respect for the facts of an argument- but a philosophical divide between the likes of Josiah Bounderby and his ilk in Hard Times, or Samuel Smiles perhaps and the opinions of Dickens himself, or the philanthropists like Catherine and Wiliam Booth. I cannot think of those 50 million Americans without the money to pay for health insurance without thinking of what it would be like if I and my family were amoung them. Maybe a proportion could be capable of creating the wealth to pay for their good health, but what if someone is already in poor health because of disability, a congenital or terminal condition? And people made redundant because of economic decline, have not so much choice either.

You, Michael, seem to have been born into the wrong century. The huge philosophical arguments you get so passionate about have been efectively lost over half a century ago before Macmillan became PM. Even Mrs T. claimed the NHS would be 'safe' in her hands,(it wasn't) as she knew voters value and revere it. US Republicans insist, like you, that self reliance is the way to go, as it should be regarding most other things. But what do we do about those who cannot survive, both for good reasons and bad? Shoulkd we walk past and view their dead bodies in the street as used to be the case in Lopndon in the 18th century?

I am grateful such people are cared for by state on society's behalf. You seem to think this is some kind of self defeating betrayal.
I'll take the NHS, but then again to many in the UK look at the USA and then fawn at it for being great.

we have already had Blair with his dollar sign wars, now we have this MEP ass hole.

I watched a program a few years back about two people in the USA one with insurance who was then told it has run out due to the extra cost and UNUM Provident has refused to do more, and a person who had to pray that the free doctor would arrive to treat them.

Here I phone my GP and I get treatment even if it takes a month I know which one is better.

To many people look at America and think if only, I suggest they piss off and see what it's really like.
No harm to you Robert. I have lived there and it's much better.

I suspect most British people who criticise America(and remember this is THEIR debate) have never been there and base their opinions on Channel Four type lies and UK vested interests(the ubiquitous legions who draw an inflated salary from the whole racket). You phone your GP and wait. Most people with any money in this country have long since fled to private medicine.

Most of the people who "fawn" over America are the people who have lived there and have come to realise what a derelict Britain is in comparison. I suspect a great many in Britain would be quite happy to "piss off" there if they had any money left.
Never mind, oh by the way my family come from a small area in America whats it's name oh yes Texas. They have a tiny cattle ranch. well tiny according to America sizes.
I have been listening to a few Hardline Conservatives in my area who go round with the local hunt. Many of their views are like Hannan's and not Camerons. They will vote Conservative as they always do, but Cameron will have these to deal with. It seems like if some of the ideals that the hard right have don't get met Cameron will have a very difficult time and may be out. Cameron has done a good job in changing the image of his party but in general the party has not been reformed as much as Labour was in the 1990s.
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