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How the British feel about their socialized health-care system

By Ezra Klein

Claire Rayner, one of Britain's best-loved advice columnists, died Tuesday. But before she went, she asked her son to deliver this message:

"Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS, I'll come back and haunt him."

By Ezra Klein  | November 8, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
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that's nice Ezra but I'd also love it if you also chose to post dissenting opinions or facts like this:

Here are some key snippets from the article:

Mr. Geidt, the man on the operating table, has done exactly that. Rather than wait the year or longer he was told it would take to be treated under medicare, Mr. Geidt, racked by pain, opted to fork out $7,010 from his own pocket to have his left shoulder repaired – within weeks – by Dr. Day.

After being told she faced lengthy waits for both consultation and surgery, Ms. Acimov opted to have her operation at the Cambie clinic for a hefty price tag of $10,250, some of which she may be able to reclaim from Alberta's health-care plan.

But Ezra I thought long waits for healthcare in these countries was a conservative lie? Does the Globe and Mail lie? Do these clinics not exist? if the waits were not too long then there'd be no market for these clinics yet this doctor has a very brisk business it seems.

Do these clinics exist in Ms. Rayner's England and if so will we EVER hear about them and the reasons for the need for them around here? HMMM.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 8, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Ezra - STOP BLOGGING. Go enjoy your trip and celebrate your engagement.

Posted by: Isa8686 | November 8, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, this is Ezra's blog. When he prints anecdotes like this it's for humorous effect or because they otherwise tickle his fancy. Think "lunch break". These are not intended as a hard argument for his position.

And why should he do dueling anecdotes with opinion pieces? When he wants to make a hard argument he cites *statistics*, for which taunts and counter anecdotes are not an adequate counterargument. (And statistics in support of your position are notable absent. See , for example.)

If you don't like bits like this, fine, but it's silly to fume righteously in the comments section.

Posted by: dfhoughton | November 8, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Just ask the Canadians or the Brits if they would like to change to an American style Health Care system and see what they say. Also Australia has a first class single payer health care system and they are very happy with it , ( I have relatives there , hip surgery done in timely manner and even a repeat surgery after a second opinion showed the hipprosthesis not seated well after 1 year .

Posted by: sligowoman | November 8, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse


the point wasn't that the American healthcare system is better than the Canadian or the British as its clearly not (at least when it comes to access and cost). The point is that problems within other systems do exist and the fact that Ezra points out that this individual doesn't want it changed neglects those issues which I chose to bring up. If you don't like it, ignore my post.

I had most issue with the title because "How the British feel about their socialized healthcare system" factors in only one person cited. Do most of them think its great, I'm sure they do because that's all they know. Remember back to the HCR debate and studies showed 85% of Americans preferred the current (at the time) system. Now its going to change. For some dramatically for some not so dramatically.


again I never said that the American system was better than the others, its not but again those systems are far from perfect especially when you consider the costs there are having similar issues to the US in relation to busting their budgets. We just never hear about them here.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 8, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that sentiment is fairly widespread over here. There's a lot of problems with our NHS, and personally I think there are much better health care systems in other countries (notably not the US, though), but the NHS as a concept is extremely popular over here even amongst conservatives. Our prime minister David Cameron, leader of the right-wing Conservative party, said before the election: "I can sum up our priorities in 3 letters: NHS". He ruled out any spending cuts whatsoever to the NHS during the election campaign. And I don't think its popularity is because we British are rampant socialists: just look at how popular socialised medicine is in America, even amongst the right wing, in the form of Medicare.

Posted by: bigmandave | November 8, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

From Wikipedia:

"Despite being President of the Patients Association Rayner used private health care."

As does every UK resident who has that option.

Posted by: bgmma50 | November 8, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

vision, every country with a national healthcare system has also got private healthcare. Indeed, every European and UK resident I know loves their national health care every bit as much as Claire Rayner, and every one of them draws the line at actually using it, as apparently did Claire Rayner.

Posted by: bgmma50 | November 8, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, I'm with dfhoughton, I think it goes without saying that Ezra's post wasn't really a fair treatment of the issue. It's a fun and humorous anecdote, nothing more or less.

Posted by: MosBen | November 8, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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