The Huffington Post has published an article about the falsehoods being spread in the U.S. regarding Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  From the article:

As the debate over how best to look after American patients rages on, Britain’s socialized health care system has increasingly found itself being drawn into the argument. Critics of the Obama administration’s plan to overhaul US health care say the president is seeking to model the U.S. system on that of Britain or Canada – places they paint as countries where patients linger for months on waiting lists and are forbidden from paying for their own medication.

[. . .]

The criticism, widely covered in the U.K. media, has clearly stung Britain’s left-leaning Labour government. The Department of Health took the unusual step of contacting The Associated Press and e-mailing it a three-page rebuttal to what it said were misconceptions about the NHS being bandied about in the U.S. media – each one followed with the words: “Not true.”

At the top of the list was the idea that a patient in his late 70s would not be treated for a brain tumor because he was too old – a transparent reference to Grassley’s comments about Kennedy.

And what of Republicans’ claim that British patients are robbed of their medical choices? False again, the department said.

“Everyone who is cared for by the NHS in England has formal rights to make choices about the service that they receive,” it said in its rebuttal.

Then followed a fact sheet comparing selected statistics such as health spending per capita, infant mortality, life expectancy, and more. Each one showed England outperforming its trans-Atlantic counterpart.

The British government offers health care for free at the point of need, a service pioneered by Labour in 1948. In the six decades since, its promise of universal medical care, from cradle to grave, is taken for granted by Britons to such an extent that politicians – even fiscal conservatives – are loath to attack it.

But the NHS faces significant challenges, not least a multibillion pound (dollar) deficit predicted to open up over the next five years. It has its critics too, particularly cancer patients who complain that the government refuses to cover costlier drugs, leaving those who need expensive treatments to pay for them out of pocket.

Nevertheless, many in the British press bristled at the criticism from America’s right wing.

“How dare the Republicans bad-mouth our free health care system?” Guardian columnist Michele Hanson wrote Wednesday. “If I’d been born in the U.S., I’d probably be dead by now.”

It is worth noting that, despite the claim from the Right that we will end up with a system like Britain or Canada, those two countries do not have the same system.  The British system is socialized medicine, in which the government employs the doctors, owns the hospitals etc (just like the Veterans Administration here in the U.S.), and the Canadian system is a single-payer Medicare-for-All system, such as the one we advocate for.

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