FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Complications of Obamacare

by CLANCY SIGAL

Obamacare, ACA, health exchanges, bronze silver gold and platinum levels.  Oy!  It’s complicated!  Does it have to be?

“Do you really want the state to be your doctor?” the British Medical Association of medical professionals trumpeted in nationwide ads when the current National Health System was first being debated in 1948.  Doctors and conservatives furiously raged against this new “revolutionary” free-health-care-for-all scheme bullied through by a raving red socialist former coal miner the Health Minister Aneuran Bevan.

Almost overnight once the system got working the BMA and its doctors changed their tune.  Today, despite plenty of things wrong with the present NHS (underfunding, over-bureaucratizing), the deeply Tory BMA leads the fight FOR socialized medicine.

It works.

For 30 years I was an NHS patient.  The tone was set my first week in England by the first GP I
OR Book Going Rougeapproached.  I confessed that, in truth, I was an illegal immigrant.  He stared at me, “So?  What difference does it make?  We treat you because we don’t want anyone contagious running around the country and infecting us all.”

The free universal care system was and is simplicity itself.  You sign up with a GP who gives you a card and that’s it.  No paperwork, no insurance forms, no nada.  You are free to change doctors, which I did, from a long list of choices.  If you need a specialist or surgeon, as I did, you get sent along no problem.  A community nurse system gets you a home visit if you’re immobile.  And – sacred miracle!  I’ve had my doctor come out at night to see me.

It’s single payer – the government – via taxes.  Over time I probably took more out of Britain’s health care system than I put in.  Money was never an issue.  You can also sign up for private health which I’m told is a bit like the “concierge” system the USA is playing about  with recently.  You pay a fortune to jump the queue but you best not need truly serious surgery or emergency care because most private hospitals are not geared for it.

The latest figures I saw is that the UK, for all its problems, ranks better than we do in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality.  Britain spends $2500 per patient vs the U.S. $6000.

Utopia?  No.  London emergency rooms are the pits and the UK lags in cancer treatment.

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail