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How Stephen Hawking Proves That Investor's Business Daily's Editorial Page Tells Lies

Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford. He currently teaches at the University of Cambridge. Oxford and Cambridge have something in common: They're both in England. Which makes this editorial in Investor's Business Daily unfortunate indeed.

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Sigh. You could write some long response to the rest of the lies and distortions in that IBD editorial, but the more appropriate reply is to just warn people against ever reading the editorial page in Investor's Business Daily. It's not just that they didn't know that Stephen Hawking was born in England. It's that the underlying point was wrong, as you'll note from the continued existence of Stephen Hawking. They didn't choose an unfortunate example for an accurate point. They simply lied.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 10, 2009; 3:55 PM ET
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Next: This Week's Think Tank: Health Care, Obesity and Intellectuals


The remarkable thing is that it's been up there for almost two weeks.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | August 10, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

But the traditional news section media can't say he lied, because that wouldn't be "even-handed", which is more important than conveying important information in an accurate and non-misleading way. They can only say Democrats say he lied.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | August 10, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

What can you say about a paper that exists because its publisher thought the WSJ's op-ed page was too liberal?

Posted by: PeterPrinciple | August 10, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Investors BS Daily: the place to read marketroid editorials too crass and stupid even for the WSJ.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | August 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

It is sure refreshing to hear anyone in the media say that a lie is a lie, and not a falsehood, is disengenuous, or ignore it entirely. (Are you listening, Publisher of the Wash Post?).

In criminal law what distinguishes perjury from a memory error? Intent to deceive is a major element.

The IBD, and Faux News, and WaPo editorial staff, and many others, lie because they intended to and did have an intent to deceive. Too bad the media isn't subject to criminal perjury laws.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | August 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"The IBD comments regarding Stephen Hawking are in dispute."

Posted by: SteveCA1 | August 10, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

To be fair Hawking is a little older than the NHS itself. It's still bs though.

Posted by: chrismealy | August 10, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Ezra is assuming that Hawkins gets his health care from the National Health Service. He does not, and if he could not afford private insurance, he would most certainly not receive care under the NHS NICE program.

I read in the NY Times recently that if your care will cost more than $49,000/year, you are denied and told to go curl up in a corner and die.

Hope and Change, 2012!

"Last year Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence gave a preliminary recommendation that the National Health Service should not offer Sutent for advanced kidney cancer. The institute, generally known as NICE, is a government-financed but independently run organization set up to provide national guidance on promoting good health and treating illness. The decision on Sutent did not, at first glance, appear difficult. NICE had set a general limit of £30,000, or about $49,000, on the cost of extending life for a year."

Posted by: Chris_40 | August 10, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Just want to make sure credit is given where it is due. Jay Bookman from the AJC pointed this out earlier today

Posted by: jhop2016 | August 10, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"Ezra is assuming that Hawkins gets his health care from the National Health Service. He does not...."

Chris_40: Defend this assertion. Please let us know specifically why how you know about Prof. Hawking's insurance status.

"I read in the NY Times recently that if your care will cost more than $49,000/year, you are denied and told to go curl up in a corner and die."

This contention is directly refuted by the material you quote. More than $49K to extend life for one year is not the same thing as care that costs more than $49K per year.

Posted by: JEinATL | August 10, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse


I don't think you're reading that right. That's talking about people with terminal illnesses. It says that if you're going to die, they'll spend up to $49,000 to extend your life one year.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | August 10, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Chris_40, Hawking recently was hospitalized at Addenbrooke hospital in Cambridge for a life-threatening chest infection. It was all over the news here, fyi. Addenbrooke is an NHS hospital:

And chrismealy, Hawking wasn't diagnosed with ALS until he was in his 20s, so while he was born a few years before the NHS was created, his illness wasn't diagnosed until many years after the creation of the NHS in 1948. For whatever reason, they chose not to exterminate him. :-)

Posted by: KathyF | August 10, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

This April 2009 CNN article:

States that hawking was hospitalized in England.

He was also born in England, is an English citizen, and works at English universities.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | August 10, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"Ezra is assuming that Hawkins gets his health care from the National Health Service. He does not, and if he could not afford private insurance, he would most certainly not receive care under the NHS NICE program."

Ah, but (assuming that's all true) the editorial in question doesn't say Hawking "wouldn't have a chance" in the NHS NICE program, does it? Only that he "wouldn't have a chance in the U.K.", when he clearly does.

Perhaps that's only because the U.K. has a system where private insurers CAN operate side-by-side with the public option (I don't know that it does, just saying perhaps). Very well; that's exactly what Obama and the House envision, too, and it remains the case that he had "A chance" in that system.

All in all, he was a lousy example for IBD to use.

Posted by: colby1983 | August 10, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

So the Gov't run Healthcare System in the UK, deemed that extending one's life for one year at a cost of $49K was too much.
That's exactly the same thinking that the Insurance companies in the US use.

All single payer "universal" health care systems work this way. Even Rahm's bro knows they have to:

Emanuel sees a problem in the Hippocratic Oath doctors take to first do no harm, compelling them "as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others," thereby avoiding the inevitable move toward "socially sustainable, cost-effective care.

Socially Sustainable, cost effective care is what Obama is pushing.

It can ONLY be achieved in the way Emanuel suggests. Which is exactly what the insurance companies have been doing ad nauseum.

How is Obamacare any different? Some people still don't see that the Emperor ain't wearing any new clothes!

Posted by: HarleyQuinn1 | August 10, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

It seems as if everyone has already jumped on Chris so I will let that go. But HarleyQuinn1 is exactly on point: to think that we have no rationing in this country is absolutely foolish. We have rationing based on income. More importantly, in private insurance there is plenty of rationing. I have spent 30 years in that business and the industry is increasingly in between the doctor and the patient telling the doctor what is and is not allowed. If you think differently you have simply not had many interactions with the system.

Posted by: scott1959 | August 10, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

It's even more remarkable. Not only was Hawking treated at NHS hospitals, he is today either the longest-surviving ALS patient or very close to it.

It took me less than 5 minutes to establish this via the google. IBD???

Posted by: Sophomore | August 10, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Only people hooked into the JournoList Borg brain would be so unaware to think that IBD doesn't realize that Hawkings

Their obvious point was that if Hawkings didn't have money to purchase supplemental insurance, if he were just an average person, the NHS would have let him die long, long ago. The NHS absolutely rations care for those with expensive, terminal illnesses.

Arguing the IBD just "missed" that the man is alive makes you a smirking idiot.

Posted by: Chris_40 | August 10, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Chris_40: You seem to be missing quite a few points.

Hawkings is rather an average person when it comes to health care. He receives care through the NHS, like most people in England. His "wealth" has nothing to do with his care, nor should it.

Here in the UK people with ALS aren't left to die, as you seem to think. Lots of people are undergoing expensive treatments EVERY DAY.

The IBD article assumed the Hawking was not living in the UK, which indeed he is. No one misunderstood their assumption or believed they were assuming that he wasn't alive. (He did have a life threatening illness in April, fyi, and was treated at an NHS hospital.)

Please stop talking about subjects you know nothing about. Stephen may very well be reading this, and laughing his ass off at you. As are the rest of us who live in Britain.

Posted by: KathyF | August 10, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Really KathyF?

"After this, I had to have 24 hour nursing care. This was made possible by grants from several foundations."

I guess Hawking seems to think his care is paid for by several non-NHS foundations, even if you do not.

And I {{shudder}} to think of what several millions of English teeth look like as they laugh at me.

Posted by: Chris_40 | August 10, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

You can find out where Stephen Hawking is or where he's going, but not both.

Posted by: chris15 | August 10, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Look, think a key thing to keep in mind is that the Republicans are opposed to government doing anything in health care in general. Lead by Ronald Reagan in the 1960s, they fought Medicare enactment tooth and nail, and it was passed over them. They want the tiny government.

Now, if they really got their way, and there was no government involvement in health care at all, no Medicare, no Medicaid, nothing, the vast majority of people with ALS like Hawking, would never be able to afford health insurance, if anyone even offered it for them, and they wouldn't be able to afford even a small fraction of their treatment. Their treatment would be limited to almost zero.

Likewise, if the Republicans got their way, their tiny government vision, there would be no Medicare for people 65 and over, which is in fact universal single payer insurance for them, just like in Canada. If the Republicans got their way, and we didn't have it, most seniors would not be able to afford insurance in the private market, at the amazingly high rates they would be charged, and they would thus have access to little of the treatment that they would badly need.

Whatever you can say about health care for the old and very sick, it would be immensely worse under the no government help at all, tiny government Republican vision.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | August 10, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

It should be noted that even the very best private health care plans in the United States typically have a $1 million maximum lifetime payout. Once you accrue $1 million worth of health care expenses, that's it, you're cut off. Hawking doesn't have to worry about having the NHS tell him, "you've used up your lifetime allotment. No more for you."

Posted by: tyromania | August 10, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"I read in the NY Times recently that if your care will cost more than $49,000/year, you are denied and told to go curl up in a corner and die."

Sweet, that's WAY more than my insurance company will pay!

Posted by: itch | August 10, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Chris: try getting 24 hr nursing care in this country. The most generous private plans would subject you to a medical necessity test then if they agreed to pay would pay for 120 days a year. The other 245 are on you.

Posted by: scott1959 | August 10, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

After reading of the IBD goof, a perfect illustration of what is wrong with the attacks on health care reform, I went to Hawking's website to see what it said about his care. It links to the Motor Neurone Disease site, which links to some government sites.

It seems if you live in the UK and take care of an person receiving disability payments for 35 hours a week, you receive a "carer's allowance." Other services are given to home-bound patients.

So not only do they kill you off, they pay someone to care for you. In fact life expectancy from birth in the UK is higher than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average for 2005 (last year with UK data). The US LE is lower than average.

Having struggled with caring for an aging and then dying parent, while working full-time, I can testify to what a relief that would have been.

Posted by: SaboPike | August 10, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

That this mindless lie is in something to be thought of as an editorial is more astonishing, not just some random blog post from a fringe kook. Of course, look at Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's most recent candidate for VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 10, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

So saying that health care reform will save money is no less basic a lie?

2+2=4. Even for liberals.

Being a liberal does not give you the right to say 2+2=5.

Or how about this, 2+2= You lose Congress

Posted by: gorak | August 10, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

To the right wing whackos, Fact is a four letter world. If it feels good, say it, believe it and the h3ll with the truth. Ideology trumps all.

Fear, Hatred, Distortion and Division. That's all they've got.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 11, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

"if he were just an average person, the NHS would have let him die long, long ago."


Stop lying, Chris_40. All you have are lies and smears and stupidity, and it's really very pathetic.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | August 11, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

What I find most hilarious about this whole thing is that conservatives are now posing as the defenders of the sick, the elderly and disabled children.

The same conservatives who fought to the death against Medicare, Social Security and S-CHIP.


Posted by: enochsoames | August 11, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what would be the result of a brilliant young 21-year-old who came down with this disease in the current U.S. health system? Could he ever get health insurance? Would he ever be able to do the great work Hawkings has done, or would he have to struggle in jobs that waste his talent just to pay for the treatments that wouldn't be covered by any health insurance he could get.

I have no doubt that Hawkings is rich enough now that he can pay for treatments anywhere he wants them, but the question is, would he have gotten rich if the U.K. hadn't covered all his medical bills throughout his life.

Posted by: binkytom | August 11, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

chris15: "You can find out where Stephen Hawking is or where he's going, but not both."

If Hawking's cat went in for a "death panel" consultation, and you didn't know the conclusion, would it come out alive or dead or somewhere in between?

Posted by: imback | August 11, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Clearly this IBD editorial is a subtle dig at the distortions of many of the claims made by opponents of change to the US healthcare system. I mean, no editorial could contain so many gross inaccuracies as this one.... right?

Posted by: AmenCorner | August 11, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

So, in the US, Stephen Hawking wouldn't have been uninsurable and almost certainly left to rot, or die, in poverty? Interesting.

Contrary to the claim that, in March 2009, NICE ruled against the use of Sutent; since February 2009, Sutent has actually been on NICE's approved list of treatments - a direct result of monopsony working to force Pfizer into lowering the price of the drug - whereas even most private medical insurers in the US continue to refuse to fund any sort treatment with Sutent, because they consider that Pfizer's price renders the drug uneconomical.

As for Lapatinib, no final decision has even been made. The closing date for submissions on the drug was only a little over one week ago; so the claim that NICE has ruled against it is a complete fabrication. Like with Sutent however, most private medical insurers in the US continue to refuse to fund any sort treatment with Lapatinib.

In the US-based Commonwealth Fund's 2008 healthcare rankings of six top developed nations (Australia, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States):

The United Kingdom ranks top overall - and ranks above the US in all but one measure - yet has the lowest healthcare spend per head of population.

The USA ranks sixth overall - ranking bottom on five of the nine measures along with having the lowest life-expectancy and highest infant mortality rates by far - despite spending more than twice what any other country spends on healthcare (and, at $6,102 vs. $2,546, almost three times the spend in the UK), per head of population.

Go figure why the desperate need to resort to transparent lies in order to defend the indefensible.

Posted by: axp5643 | August 11, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The difference is that NICE examines the *treatment* and determines if it produces enough good results against the cost of the treatment.

It means that good treatments get allowed, even if they are expensive. Very expensive ongoing treaments (such as experimental or new drugs) are sometimes denied because there is no proof that these treatments produce enough of an effect to justify using them.

This is opposed to the private insurance industry where 1. coverage of treatments is not determined transparently, and 2. where there are individual limits on the payout of a policy, the NHS has no such payout caps.

The Tories (Conservatives) have just announced that if they gain power next year (which is likely), there will be no cuts to frontline services, including healthcare and the NHS. This is how important the NHS is to the population. There may be issues with the NHS, but the public overwhelmingly support the NHS and no political party would ever consider rolling it back.

Posted by: iserlohn | August 11, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

For all of you ignorant conservatives Hawking responds:

Posted by: Civ4ever | August 11, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

IBD should take Sarah Palin's advice and stop making things up!

Posted by: amy_e | August 11, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

While Hawking is older than the NHS by 6 years, his illness is not. He was diagnosed when he was 21 - an age at which many educated Americans are uninsured (as was I, in graduate school). He has received (apparently successful) treatment in an NHS hospital as recently as April, though no one knows if he has his own private insurance.

The IBD editorial writer clearly needs to get his facts straight - who makes a point about a person's nationality without knowing that nationality is correct?

Posted by: Aurora322 | August 11, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Stephen Hawking:
"I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

Posted by: twothirtydesigns | August 11, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, the editors over at IBD don't agree with Chris_40:
Editor's Note: This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.

Posted by: edlharris | August 12, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

When you see drivel like that posted by Chris_40, it's worth remembering that there's a good chance that they are actually paid rightwing trolls. Like the folks at Advantage Consulting, a political consulting outfit run by Florida rightwing talk-radio host Doug Guetzloe. An ad he's been running (since at least 2007) reads:

"Are you ready for a blog attack?

"Get ahead of your opponent with Professional Blog Warriors.

"Be prepared to "flood the zone" with comments from professionals who are ready to put your talking points on the blogosphere 24/7.

"Whether it's defense or offense, Advantage Consultants has a dedicated team of experienced blog warriors ready to advance your candidate or campaign.

"Why wait for the attack? Launch your attack with a battery of blog and forum comments aimed at all media and blog sites in your district.

"Contact us today and let us show you the Advantage in professional blog warfare."

More, including a link to the ad, at:

You can also google "Advantage Consulting" to get to their site.

"Flood the zone. Put your talking points on the blogosphere 24/7."

Astroturf at its finest.

Posted by: JB20091 | August 12, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

What is also omitted from the editorial, is the fact that the "cost-utility analysis" or whichever tool you care to use to allocate finite resources, is not of itself intrinsically bad. The existence of the NHS is not predicated on a “magic money well” that permits universal treatment irrespective of cost. The use of some tool is required to allocate the resources available. It is for the purpose of making the best use of the resources, not for the purpose of maximising profit or minimise cost. Money not spent treating one patient is, nevertheless spent treating another. This necessitates some hard, often life and death, choices. I prefer the system that does not include amongst the factors considered in that calculation, the return to shareholders. While I accept (but not without qualification) the Pharma companies arguments that drug prices reflect the cost of development, it is I think a spurious argument to posit that it is the fault of NICE and the NHS that it cannot justify the use of the newest, most expensive drug in every case.

Posted by: matthew13 | August 12, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The IBD website now has deleted the reference to Hawking, with a note that they incorrectly implied he was not British. They did not note that they asserted that would not have survived under the British system--an assertion that is demonstrably false.

But truth does not matter. Truthiness rules.

Posted by: joe6 | August 12, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Whilst not wishing to enter the USA debate on its health provision I feel that I should correct some misapprehensions about the NHS. All health systems ration resource including the US system. Otherwise 100% of GDP would be deployed in the health sector. NICE does apply a financial factor in assessing the efficacy of and approval for (mainly new) drugs in the NHS. This is common sense. There is not normally a limit applied to the amount of healthcare that an individual receives although best value for money is always a consideration in looking at options. This is common sense. I regularly approve packages of care that cost up to $325,000 per year for the most vulnerable and affected in our society. Our elderly population consume by far the lions share of the NHS annual resource and the British people support this principle in a huge majority. Stephen Hawking has received nearly all his acute and specialist care from the NHS which he has, in the last few days, accredited for keeping him alive. He may well used his wealth to enhance his support package. Finally one fact that may bear food for thought, British life expectancy now exceeds that of the USA whilst enjoying a free at the point of use universal health system that consumes 8% of a lower GDP not 16% as in the USA.

Posted by: robertmahoney1 | August 12, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

How do we know that Stephen Hawking really is from the U.K.? Has anyone seen his original birth certificate?

Posted by: jrte | August 12, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

The NHS is not perfect. But it does cater for all. You won't find yourself ill and then having to come up with money to get treated "at all".

The obvious point that is being missed is that we ALSO have private medical insurance care if you wish to have it.

Does it not seem a little odd that American citizens are willing to come together to pay for weapons and "national security" but NOT medical care for all of it's citizens???

Billions/trillions spent on Weapons and Bank rescues but a basic Health Care System for all to use whatever your race / background or wealth is fundamentally wrong is it?

Of course private health care CAN be an advantage and offer better care but that does not mean that a system similar to the NHS - as well as that - is wrong.

Posted by: jschn | August 13, 2009 4:40 AM | Report abuse

re hawking see e.g
and others where hawking states that he 'would not be alive without the nhs'

Posted by: bltwithketchup | August 13, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

its worth noting that the nhs costs 41% per capita than the us system. so really its cheap and effective.

Posted by: bltwithketchup | August 13, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Stephen Hawking could have chosen private insurance if he had wanted to; there are plenty options out there in the UK:

However, Hawking relies on NHS care, as he told the Guardian:

In the UK we know very well that our system isn't perfect, but the fact that many people who can afford private insurance choose not to take it out suggests that the standard of care is pretty high.

How you run your healthcare system in the US is up to you, but please don't spread misinformation about our system. Life expectancy is higher in the UK than the US, so I assume we're doing something right!

Posted by: ptracey44 | August 13, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

As someone who has lived 23 years in the UK and 22 years here in the US, I can testify that neither system is perfect. But having had a close friend without health insurance die here last year because she was unable to get diagnoses or treatment until her condition had become untreatable, I would much rather have a UK style system where everyone has a right to life rather than just the privileged few. Somehow though I suspect the right wing loonies will drown out the silent majority yet again and succeed in holding us back in the dark ages.

Posted by: jrte | August 13, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

It is totally a waste of time to try to make those who mistake end of life counseling with "death panels".

MILLIONS of people already have had end of life conversations with their physicians. Those are when people may sign living wills, DNR wishes, terminal care wishes etc.

They do NOT pick and choose if a person needs to die.

Those who misinterpret the wording of the bill to scare folks that they will be euthanized are despicable.

And the entire debate should be a lesson to all of us as to how many stupid people there are or else show us the total failure of an educational system that cannot teach people to read and COMPREHEND simple English statements!

Maybe there ARE some people who need to see a "death palen". Maybe culling the herd would be a good idea.

Posted by: dbaxley821 | August 13, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Day 1
Tripped and Fell
Ambulance called and prioritized to our remote rural home in evening
Ambulatory staff competently checked patent in home
Ambulatory staff competently checked patent in Ambulance on way to our preferred hospital
Hospital Staff immediately received patient and competently checked patent including a vast number of blood checks
Pain killers administered to appropriate levels
X-Rays undertaken
Diagnosis made
Patent given bed in ward
Day 2
Anaesthetist checks patent
Anesthetic given
Surgery undertaken
….morning over
So in the space of 12-18 hours the patent was collected from rural home and underwent Hip Replacement
Her age 85
Did her age affect the British West Suffolk Hospital’s decision making
The effect was to prioritize her attention from the medical staff
The NHS – far from perfect but
did she have to undergo wealth checks? No
was payment needed?
no – it’s the National Health Service
I think that the slogan was “Cradle to Grave” when introduced
well she’s to old for the Cradle part - I got that part as her son – but she is getting the “to Grave “ bit
an 85 year old injured woman got all the required attention from the NHS - doesn’t make a good headline but it happens every day ….

The NHS – far from perfect but, far better than most

Posted by: ynotoman | August 14, 2009 2:26 AM | Report abuse

The NHS for all its faults and there are many, is an excellent system and has served and continues to serve the people of Britain well.

What I find most disturbing is that it is thanks to the policies of our government that Americans have been handed the ammunition that allows them to attack our truly excellent health care system.

Americans need to understand that since 1997 a Scottish cabal has been sitting at the heart of a socialist government whose whole raison d'étre is to destroy England. Dig deep and you will find communists, trotskyists, marxists supported by extreme left wingers. Revolutionaries all of them.

They are, almost to a man, filled with an unjustifiable hatred of England and its middle class.

It is under this socialist government that selective health care has been promulgated within the NHS. Drugs that may extend and or improve a persons life are more often than not, available available to the Scots and Welsh but not to the English. The inequitable post code lottery is Tony Blair's NuLab legacy.

Please do not judge the NHS on the basis of a malevolent government because, I can assure you that you will arrive at the wrong conclusion.

Posted by: ray2038msncom | August 14, 2009 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Iam a regular user of the NHS, I have diabetes and COPD. Would I be eligible for health insurance in the US? All my medications are free of charge, I see my doctor the same day if I need to, have free annual screening for diabetes complications. The NHS like ALL healthcare is not perfect but it is about as equitable as healthcare can be. I am a registered nurse and have worked for the NHS for 32 years.

Posted by: robertdownes1 | August 14, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Any American that says that our Nh service is wrong is completely ignorant of Britain.
Since 1948 health care for all including visiting yanks is free.We have to pay for dentistry but that is subsidized by our goverment.Every working man or women that earns over £108 per week pays a sum out of there wages to help pay for the nh and old age retirement benifit.If you earn more you pay more.No one minds paying this because we are proud of our free healthcare.If you want one can pay for private health.
A lot of us this side of the pond think that you yanks are jealous of our health care and your attitude to this subject is one of the things that people in the rest of the world despise your attitude to the rest of us in the free world.

Posted by: philipcave | August 14, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I can't help feeling that many Americans have missed the point about the UK's NHS. It's a safety net, living and working anywhere is hard enough but the one thing we in the UK do not have to worry about is basic healthcare. No-one here pretends it is the perfect service and if you want you can choose to go with private care, surely "choice" is what everyone wants ? But I'm sure that in the US as here there are many, many people who do not have the choice to pay for care. The NHS is theirs, it does not matter how poor you are, under our system you are _entitled_ to a standard level of service. There may be many things wrong with the UK but having an NHS is definitely not one of them. I'm proud of our healthcare system.

Posted by: chas_hopkins | August 14, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Dear US Citizens
You are hearing so much irrelevant bad press about the UK health system. You Can private. We do. We also have the NHS. Our son, a min wage worker age 30 has colon cancer. He has had 7 months of diagnosis, chemo, radio and 4 ops and has had an emergency 911. We have optiomns and I chose the NHS and we are so pleased with the way its going.Take it from me.

Posted by: hvgoodrick | August 14, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The Brits & many other nationals are fighting back against these U.S. Right Wing lies.

As a Canadian who visits USA often, I can tell you that we Canadians may get stressed about an illness but not about the bill. When I drive to the US, I go to the CAA & get out-of-country insurance even if it's for a one day trip. Govt healthcare is not perfect but it's much better than what the US has!

Americans are paying money to the insurance medical racket already & if they had govt healthcare, that money would benefit the average citizen instead of going to those fat cats.

Posted by: tmorgan1000 | August 16, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

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