Insights from the UK and beyond
Do you love the NHS?
The National Health Service (NHS) has endured a barrage of criticism from opponents of Barack Obama’s plans to push through a healthcare bill that would rein in costs, place constraints on insurance companies and expand health cover to 46 million uninsured Americans.
Stateside critics of the U.S. President’s plans — including former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin — have branded the NHS “evil and Orwellian” and said it allowed “death panels” to decide levels of care for the elderly. They see it as an overly bureaucratic, “socialised” system of healthcare and the proposals have prompted angry scenes at town halls across America.
Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan stirred up further controversy by describing the NHS on a U.S. TV show as a “60 year mistake” and as a service he “wouldn’t wish on anybody”.
Political leaders in the UK have been united in their defence of the NHS following the onslaught. Gordon Brown used micro-blogging site Twitter to voice his support, saying: “The NHS often makes the difference between pain and comfort, despair and hope, life and death. Thanks for always being there.”
A campaign supporting the health service on Twitter, called welovetheNHS, has received tens of thousands of messages.
David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, was quick to distance himself and his party from Hannan’s remarks. “Just look at all the support which the NHS has received on Twitter over the last couple of days. It is a reminder — if one were needed — of how proud we in Britain are of the NHS,” he said in a statement.
What do you think of the National Health Service? Do you agree with our country’s politicians that it is a system we should be proud of? What are your views on healthcare in the U.S?