January 6, 2008

US Media Ignore British Health Service’s ‘You’re on Your Own’ Mandates

I’ve said this before, but it merits saying again: We’ll know that the news we’re fed every day by the wire services, “newspapers of record,” and TV networks is fair, accurate, and complete when those in search of the full picture no longer have to go to the editorials of the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily to fill in Old Media’s yawning information and coverage gaps.

Among the latest pieces evidence that we’re not there yet — Thursday’s IBDeditorials.com opinion piece, which had this news from Britain’s National Health Service (NHS):

The British have found a way to shorten those long, annoying waits for care and lower the rising costs of their universal access system. They’ll let patients take care of themselves.

The London Telegraph reported Tuesday that the British government has a “plan to save billions of pounds from the NHS budget.” But it won’t come without enormous pain.

“Instead of going to a hospital or consulting a doctor, patients will be encouraged to carry out ‘self-care’ as the Department of Health tries to meet Treasury targets to curb spending,” the Telegraph explained.

So when is a universal health care system not actually universal? When Britain’s 60-year-old National Health Service can no longer support the weight of its clamoring clientele.

….. The NHS, though, is hoping to cut down on more than frivolous visits. It’s looking for patients with “arthritis, asthma and even heart failure” to treat themselves, the Telegraph said.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown characterizes the policy changes as improvements that will allow patients to “play a far more active role in managing their own condition.” The British Department of Health calls it an “exciting opportunity.”

But what they’re really saying is “our universal health care system is broken, and you’re on your own.”

And we ask yet again: Is this the sort of system we want in the U.S.?

“You’re on your own”?

Where have we heard that before?

Try here (August 2007, in Iowa):

(Hillary) Clinton did not mention her rivals for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. Instead, she repeatedly attacked the current Republican President. Clinton criticized Bush for pursuing a “you’re on your own” society.

And here (November 2007, in New Hampshire):

(John) Edwards Announces Plan To Take On Health Insurance Companies To Help Families

We need tough new insurance laws to prevent abuses and ensure that Americans are no longer on their own against insurance companies.

There are numerous other examples from Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards elsewhere. And although Barack Obama (who yours truly prefers to refer to as BOOHOO — Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama) appears not to have employed “on your own” rhetoric, his health plan clearly advocates aggressive moves towards socialized medicine.

How ironic it is that both candidates advocate reshaping the health-care system and, despite clever bells and whistles, making it resemble the clearly broken NHS. What reason is there to believe the America’s health care system would not devolve as Britain’s clearly has?

More importantly, why hasn’t Old Media aggressively reported on this devolution, and the effect of Britain’s real-world experience on the advisability of the nationalized health-care programs being touted by the three major Democratic presidential candidates?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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