Monday, February 13, 2012

"No Work, No Money, No Doctor"

Tonight I watched a disturbing Panorama programme called "Poor America". You can watch it on BBC iPlayer soon. The coverage of hungry school kids and tent cities of the homeless poor was a pretty appalling thing to watch take place in the
most wealthy country in the world.

But what was really, really horrifying was the mass charity medical clinics for hundreds of Americans with no health insurance.

Many of whom suffer appalling serious medical conditions that would be dealt with immediately by our NHS without question but in the USA they simply cannot afford to get treated. We also saw videos of one of the leading American Republican Presidential candidates appearing to call for child labour and that none of the rest condemn a scenario that someone in a coma with a treatable disease should be allowed to die if he didn't have the correct medical insurance. 

"No Work, No Money, No Doctor" is what one of the Americans queueing up for treatment outside the  clinic said. Is this our NHS future under Lansley reforms?


John Gray said...

Careful with what you see/hear. Often its edited for effect.

No Republican candidate wants anyone in the U.S. going hungry or not getting medical care. Republicans just don't believe that the government can provide food and medical care to everyone in need without racking up enormous debt. If we keep adding to the national debt at this rate (and the government is not even providing all the food and medical care the poor need), it'll eventually lead to massive inflation that could very well lead to the collapse of the U.S. economy completely.

And only Newt said anything about kids working.

John Gray said...

Hi John

I am a little suspicious of these programmes since I don't live in America and do not know what is really going on. But ignoring Newt's comments on kids working (please, please do) there was a very damning clip on the programme where none of the Republican candidates apparently challenged a comment that if somebody who was in a coma and had a treatable condition but did not have any insurance left should be left to die?

Is this really true?

In the UK we have a free health service which I think is pretty good (not perfect) that only costs us 8% of GDP while over the pond it costs you 16% of GDP but 50 million Americans have no cover?

John Gray said...

Like you said, it was a "clip". There's a whole lot of clips that aren't the whole of what happened. This happened with Romney a few weeks ago when he said he wasn't worried about the poor because we have safety nets for them and if those nets have holes, he'd fix them. Of course, the media cut that down to "I'm not worried about the poor." Big difference in meaning.

I don't actually know of the particular clip you speak of but it's a gotcha question. If they agree, they're evil. If they disagree, they're supporting government-run healthcare. Anything they answer will be cut into sound bytes that cater to the media outlet's politics.

Our hospitals already treat patients in life-threatening situations regardless of insurance or ability to pay so its really a non-issue. Its purely election year fodder.

As to your free healthcare, nothing is free. You pay for it. You just do it through taxes not premiums.

John Gray said...

Hi John

Politics is (and always has been) a bit of a dirty game at times. But in an insurance based system those with insurance will expect better treatment than those without?

Does the US healthcare provide unlimited treatment to people with life threatening conditions? (there is always a limit but say compared to those with good insurance?)

True our NHS is not "free" in that sense but it would appear that a non insurance based collective model "costs" far less?