By Kyle | August 8, 2012
One of the stranger aspects about visting, or living in, Britain is the utterly reverential attitude everyone has toward their filthy hospitals, their long waiting times and their poor health-care treatment, all of which are part and parcel of the National Health Service. The rosy public attitude has been a major propaganda victory for the British establishment, which has somehow convinced the Brits that it’s US healthcare that’s a relative disaster. Well.
Says Theodore Dalrymple (a British physician) in the LA Times:
The average Briton or Swede is unlikely to know that the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 51.6% in Britain but 59.8% in Sweden, or that the 30-day fatality rates for myocardial infarction in those two countries are 6.3% and 2.9%, respectively. (The figures for the United States are 65.5% and 5.1%.) By contrast, the average Briton knows that if he suffers a heart attack, he will be taken to the hospital and connected to a lot of machines, from which he concludes that he is having the best possible treatment.
As is typical in politics, people see the inputs but ignore the outcomes. The entire weight of public opinion is behind the simple idea: “But it’s free!” Nothing is free. And you get what you pay for anyway. Socialized medicine inevitably leads to rationing. There is rationing now, and there will be more later as costs (which doubled in the decade following 1997) gradually eat up the British salary through taxes.
You will know the ugliness of the reality by the blandness of the euphemisms it inspires. Take the “Liverpool Care Pathway.” Doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe it means a visit from a Beatle? No, it means, “We are preparing you for the rubbish bin.” Because you’ve become too costly for the system. The Hippocratic Oath goes out the window and patients are denied food and water until they have the good taste to slip away.