General Question

lloydbird's avatar

Should the National Health Service of Britain be adopted as a model by all countries?

Asked by lloydbird (8730points) June 18th, 2011

Although under attack by influential countries that find our system of health care a threat to their own exploitative medical set-ups, we, the un-moneyed peoples of this land are still grateful for the results of those post WW2 politicians that instituted it. So, would you prefer not to have to worry about your medical needs, or do you have a different point of view?

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19 Answers

janbb's avatar

I am all in favor of a single payer government run health care plan for all. Whether it should specifically be based on England’s, France’s or some other country’s is not something I know enough about to say.

meiosis's avatar

As a Brit, I don’t really care about other countries’ health-care systems. I do, however, care a lot about the NHS and think the ConDems can fuck right off with their absurdly ill-thought through reorganisation plans.

WasCy's avatar

I would fully support less government intrusion (including regulation) of medicine, and more private enterprise. I’ll bet if we ever tried it, it would work as well in medicine as it does in nearly every other aspect of our lives. Which is to say, it wouldn’t be perfect, but supermarket food still beats the hell out of government cheese and canned meat.

gorillapaws's avatar

@WasCy Wouldn’t it just be capitalistic bliss if your medications were completely unregulated and sold to you by people like Billy Mays, no clinical obligations to establish things like efficacy and safety? The drug industry is bad enough in pushing the limits of deception and marketing as it is. You can experience this utopia if you venture into the wonderful libertarian havens of the world such as Somalia. Personally, I’d rather have my surgery done in the US, Canada, or Western Europe.

WasCy's avatar

Right. Another vote for the statist quo: it’s either total regulation or Somalia.

gorillapaws's avatar

@WasCy actually, there could be a lot more regulations than there are now. All of the direct marketing of drugs to consumers is the result of certain restrictions being loosened. Also the ways that drug reps are allowed to solicit sales through MD’s is another area that could be radically tightened up. If it were up to me, drugs would never be marketed, they would be studied in labs and clinical trials, their safety and efficacy would be published in peer-reviewed scientific/medical journals and doctors would read the literature and make fact-based treatment decisions for their patients.

There’s no need for stock photos of people popping pills and smiling, or drug reps who look like high-priced hookers (and make more than the MD’s they’re meeting with). It should be about the data, period.

ETpro's avatar

I do not think so. It does rate above the US in outcomes and it is lower in per-capita cost than ours. But the satisfaction index of its users is pretty low. We do better in that category. I’d adopt France’s single-payer coverage for all and private doctors and hospitals paid for outcomes. They have the highest rated system in the world and pay nearly half as much as we do per person or as a percentage of their Gross Domestic Product. For all that money, we still eave 52 million Americans uninsured. France not only covers all their citizens, they even cover tourist visiting France.

bkcunningham's avatar

What does a country like Somalia, a lawless country without a central government, have to do with capitalism? I’ve known a few drug reps @gorillapaws. You aren’t too far off base on your description. lol

Bellatrix's avatar

France really does have a fabulous health system. It is also the place to have a baby.

wundayatta's avatar

I would prefer a Canadian style system.

Ladymia69's avatar

Um…I think this question should probably get moved to social…lol…

Let’s just say that our current system is pretty pathetic…we could learn a few lessons from other countries whose systems work. And who don’t give their pharmaceutical industry premier lobbying power. Disgraceful.

gorillapaws's avatar

@bkcunningham Somalia is a model nation of Libertarianism in all of it’s glory. There’s no government regulations bogging down the free-flow of commerce. There are no taxes crushing all of the wonderful businesses there. There are no freeloaders on the healthcare system dragging down the system for everyone else. The free market there dictates the success or failures of businesses. Take a drug, if it kills you, your relatives can shoot the guy who sold it to you, no need for red tape, bureaucrats and regulators. It’s a system that works.

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t know anyone who thinks that is the way to live or thinks that is what being a Libertarian is about @gorillapaws.

WasCy's avatar

Oh, stick around, @bkcunningham. It’s either “drink the Kool Aid and sign on to government regulation of everything that has ever been or may ever be a problem for you or anyone you ever heard of or imagined”, or “you’re a stupid right-winger”, or “you should move to the libertarian haven, Somalia.”

ETpro's avatar

@WasCy We’ve had a couple of members who were so libertarian that they truly felt Somalia would be a great place to live except that this, that, or the other was just a wee bit off in how they implemented libertarianism there and it ruined the whole thing. The old No true Scotsman logical falacy.

The natural enemy of the confirmed ideologue is facts about cause and effect. When their pet policy is tried and fails miserably, it is never because there might be something wrong with the policy. They will pull out a long string of logical fallacies in an attempt to engineer the truth to agree with their belief system. Knowing that, I think that pointing to the disaster that dismantling government wrought in Somalia is perfectly logical.

WasCy's avatar


I don’t know what it is about you reading what I write. Do you have the same comprehension problems with everyone, or is it just me, or just anyone who complains about “too fucking much government”? I have never advocated for anarchy. Not once, ever in my life, and certainly not here.

I think the US Constitution is an incredible marvel. I only wish that we would adopt it as our governing document sometime, yes, in a more “fundamental” way – so call me a Fundie if you want to – but without justifying every incursion of government as “Commerce Clause” or some other such asinine and transparent excuse to metastasize our cancerous government.

I believe that limited government is a wonderful idea. We should actually try it.

meiosis's avatar

@WasCy There are plenty of health systems with far more government involvement than the the US system that are both more efficient and have overall better outcomes for the users. If less government involvement in the the US system would improve it, as seems to be your view, do you think it would also improve those other countries systems?

WasCy's avatar

@meiosis let’s define what is meant by “government involvement”, shall we? In many countries in the world I can walk into a pharmacy / druggist / chemist and buy drugs that I can only acquire in the US with a doctor’s prescription in hand.

In many of those countries, and others, I can also freely pick my “healer of choice” without regard for whether or not the person is an actual licensed M.D. or not. I’m sure that I could also hire a well-qualified nurse overseas to do things that only MDs are legally allowed to do in the US.

Many newly developed drugs are available overseas long before they’re approved for use in the United States. (I’m well aware of at least one time – from the 1960s, I believe – that the FDA still trots out to justify the incredibly long and convoluted trials that are required to be passed in the US before a new drug can be introduced to market. Thalidomide was a one-off.) No one can effectively count the number of people who have died while waiting for a drug that might have saved their lives, but still had years to go in testing before they could even consider taking the chance with what was left of their lives.

“Government involvement” means a lot more than “who is paying”.

We also need to define “better outcomes” (and find a control group to represent the various populations we’re checking, one against the other), but let’s start with the first definition first.

ETpro's avatar

@WasCy There are many countries where you can buy powerful drugs in a pharmacy with no prescription. But they are generally third world countries. While the US is near the bottom of the developed world with the most free-market system in the developed world, Mexico or Guatemala are not models I would select to improve our system.

The FDA approval process is slow, but that isn’t because it benefits for-profit drug companies. It is because it generally benefits public health. If it were up to private enterprise, things would be much more like they are in the supplement industry. Anything and everything that can be effectively marketed at a profit would go on the market. Companies could just use bankruptcy to duck responsibility if they killed a large number of people by pushing junk science. Junk science is cheap compared to real long-scale double-blind studies, and corporations live and die by one moral, maximize profits.

I am not arguing that regulation is a panacea. We always have to find the sweet spot between regulation and innovation. But either extreme, oppressive regulation or none at all, are equally damaging to a society.

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