When it comes to Health Care what are the real questions we should be asking?

exercises_in_wardI was reading an article about Kate Middleton‘s pending birth of a new royal, and the differences between private and a National Health Service (NHS) facility. Some of the differences are going to be quite obvious, the private hospital will feel more like a hotel stay than a hospital. While the NHS will get the job done without frills and champagne, probably a meal and some tea.

I read criticisms of the NHS with long waiting times and lack of funds, and I agree that health care (unless you are a wealthy nation) is not at first glance a money maker. In the WHO ranking the USA comes in 38th when it spends more than any other nation on healthcare, Britain is 18th. All this tells me is in the united states money doesn’t guarantee the best results.

I find comparisons of these two systems most of the time to be unfair. Those who say universal/government healthcare is socialist and this is somehow bad have no idea what they are talking about. This is about healthcare not a political ideology, these arguments are used to scare the ignorant into thinking that the government is evil. Of course the government is suddenly good after a natural disaster, or for creating food standards and building codes, providing a military to protect your right to say the government is evil!

OK back to healthcare; my complaint with comparing the two systems are the money spent on each is vastly different, value for money should be the real question there. Also the complaint in the States from people like me is the millions that cannot get any medical care. And lets face the truth is that any medical care is better than none. What universal healthcare would do in the USA is compete with the insurance companies throwing off the monopoly they have had in the last thirty years. Finally the price of healthcare in the USA may go down to realistic levels. I realize some medical professionals would be upset no longer earning three times the wages as their counterparts on the rest of the civilized world, but it would still be a very good wage.

Can private hospitals and public hospitals compete? The short answer is yes, they do in many countries. England and Ireland have universal care and medical insurance plans, so you have a choice and they can work in harmony. In the USA there is also government healthcare, Medicare and VA facilities are in fact government healthcare; though some would deny this due to vested interests in the current system. There are in fact vast amounts of money to be made in healthcare, personally I think the government should take a leaf from the insurance companies and use that model to create a system that provides universal care while also helping to pay for itself.

I personally think Americans compared to Europeans are more critical of their government because in Europe you actually get more for your taxes than you do in the States. I don’t like my taxes wasted & I am just as pissed as the next person with government corruption. I just think providing care to members of the same society is a cultural choice, not a political one.

Matthew 25:41-46 (New International Version (English Translation))

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”