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The NHS Becomes More ‘American’

The British government is proposing to decentralize the NHS (National Health Service) into a  health system that is more physician and patient driven; while Obamacare is determined to drag America into the dark ages of medicine.

Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.

The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent.

Well, the good news is that if these reforms do go through within the NHS, Americans will have a place to go for treatment when Obamacare fails them.

H/T: Fausta

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Tania

3 responses to “The NHS Becomes More ‘American’

  1. says:

    Robert,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion of the inside workings of the NHS. I hope all is well with you in Britain.

    I’m glad to read that you’ve had positive experiences with the local medical care. I’ve had tons of positive experiences with the medical care I receive here in the U.S.

    While in hospital, did you have the opportunity to ask your physician what their infection rate was? Do you have access to infection data for the particular hospitals you’ve been admitted? You might want to look into that data.

    It is interesting that you noted that care in the NHS was, at times, superior to a private physician. It adds fuel to my suspicion that private physicians are under the radar when it comes to quality checks/surveillance that normally occur in inpatient health care settings. I’m wary that Obamacare will lead to this type of back alley medicine in the U.S as well.

    As I type, my family is waiting to hear from a relative in Poland who is looking into private medical services in order to have a hip replacement procedure done in less than the two years time required by her nationalized plan. I’ve strongly advised her not to do this, but I suspect my advice has fallen on deaf ears. We are considering the option of bringing her to the US for treatment.

    Help me understand your system, if I break a leg in Trafalgar Square, since I do not have a legal residence in the UK and am not a citizen of an EU state, I can be refused treatment at a NHS hospital?

    That would not happen in America. If you break your leg in Times Square – the ER department and hospital are required to treat you regardless of your ability to pay. A federal law called EMTALA prohibits anyone (that includes visitors to the States) from being denied care whether at an emergency room, a community hospital, or a community clinic.

    I am well aware of the taxation needed to support your healthcare programs :) Obamacare will most likely be even more expensive than the NHS, and the silly people who supported it thought it would be free!

    At least you have the option of obtaining specialized care not available through the NHS in America. I am aware that several government run health care programs across Europe and the Middle East that finance the cost of travel and treatment for citizens in need of specialized care to the United States. John Hopkins Hospital is one of the more famous hospitals that accept foreign nationals for medical care. When I worked there, the business was good. While I’m happy the patients were able to get the care they needed, I wonder where will they go when our healthcare system becomes as limited in scope as theirs?

    I believe you would be shocked at what I know of quality issues between the NHS and the the system where I am employed.

  2. says:

    One thing, though. As hard as I try, I can’t seem to get this across: conservatives at home in the States must always bear in mind that the NHS is not considered “the big gov’t enemy” here in Britain.

    People know their doctor and local surgery (meaning office) very well. The NHS is not the impersonal “machine” Americans imagine.

    What the new gov’t is doing with this scheme is trying to improve it and save money; America has nothing to do with. They are looking to “lose” manager and admin salaries and related costs. But doctors aren’t “sold” just yet: they aren’t sure they want to be responsible for budgeting.

    Overall, while they may gripe about it at times, the British like their NHS very much. No political party wants to eliminate it.
    I have been to doctors and hospitals here several times over the years: the NHS works. In fact, sometimes the NHS provides better service than private. (Yes, really.)

    Most Americans at home would honestly be shocked if they knew all that. But it also wouldn’t work in the U.S. The U.S. is way too large for the NHS model.

    Incidentally, non-EU foreigners without legal residence in the UK cannot be treated by the NHS. If a tourist breaks a leg in London, he has to pay, or his insurance back home has to pay. So don’t fly in looking for freebies: we pay quite enough tax (it is funded like any other gov’t department, through general taxation) to support it already, thank you very much! ;-)

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