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Tipsheet

British Health Care System Is Collapsing

The British healthcare system is collapsing, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for the governing party of the United Kingdom. The Conservative Party is already reeling from multiple political crises that saw the exits of Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. Current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is staring a massive social calamity in the face amid sinking poll numbers for his party. The next British general election isn’t until 2025, but Sunak is already trailing Labour by at least 20 points in the polls. Yet, he can’t worry about that now since the National Health Service will collapse without reform. This sentiment is shared across the board, even among liberal newspapers. 

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Robert Moffit went deeper into the weeds in his piece for The Daily Signal, where he reiterated the benefits and pitfalls of such a system: access to care is universal, but the quality is less than sub-par, with roughly 11 percent of the UK population still waiting on emergency care. Cancer treatments have been grossly disrupted, thanks to the COVID pandemic, and tweaks, which have long been called for, appear to be a top necessity now if the UK wishes to save this system (via Daily Signal): 

He was asked three times whether he received private medical care or relied upon the National Health Service, the British version of “single-payer” government-run national health insurance.

Sunak dismissed the question as “not really relevant.” But it is. 

The prime minister is the head of the British government and is ultimately responsible for the National Health Service, the government agency that’s supposed to provide “free” universal coverage and care for all of Britain’s citizens.    

It does no such thing. 

According to the BBC, there are 7.2 million British citizens awaiting medical care, or almost 11% of the entire British population. And Sky News reports that more than 400,000 people in England have been awaiting hospital treatment for more than a year. 

Right now, the most salient problem is emergency care. According to The Telegraph, December data show that people suffering a heart attack face an average wait of 90 minutes for an ambulance, with some waiting up to two and a half hours. For emergency care, The Telegraph further reports, 55,000 people were forced to wait on hospital gurneys for “at least” 12 hours following emergency department decisions to admit them.    

Of course, patients suffering from a stroke or a heart attack are always in a race against time, as medical delays can result in permanent disability or death. 

Surveying the carnage, Dr. Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, estimated that between 300 and 500 people are dying each week because of delays and related problems in the delivery of emergency medical care.   

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Moffit added that this is what Democrats are trying to import here, including all the provisions that’s driving the NHS’ demise: 

The reality, however, is this: The congressional single-payer bill (HR 1976) contains the key components driving the implosion of the British health care system, including government budgeting, bureaucratic central planning, and reduced pay for doctors and nurses. 

Yet, last year, 120 House Democrats co-sponsored the legislation.  

In sharp contrast to the congressional liberals’ top-down regime, which would restrict private coverage and care for Americans, British patients are still free to go outside of the British single-payer program and spend their own money on private health insurance coverage and care of their choice. 

As noted, Sunak, the prime minister, has that option, even though he won’t say whether he has taken advantage of it. 

Big reductions in the pay of medical professionals, as authorized in the congressional single-payer legislation, can indeed reduce health care spending. But there is a big price: You pay less, and you get less. 

The issue of health care has been something of a unicorn regarding public policy. Both sides know there’s a problem—it exists—but the solutions remain elusive. The 2016 election exposed that both sides know the system is atrocious, especially the cost of prescription drugs. The neo-populist resurgence on both sides appear to at least agree on that part. They know reforms need to be made, with some device costs being astoundingly ludicrous but the bridge between the two sides isn’t built yet. The Left rails about how health care is a human right and the like, which I think turns people off. 

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I don’t need a lecture—tell me what’s your plan. I’m all ears. As for the UK, say a few novenas because I feel things are about to get much worse for their system. I’m shocked liberals here haven’t blamed Trump yet.

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