UK Healthcare a Preview of Obamacare

Wednesday, 02 Oct 2013 11:02 AM

By Michael Reagan

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This latest news from the United Kingdom should be a real heads up for Obamacare supporters who think the nation is soon to be on the receiving end of “free” healthcare. Unfortunately the more-entitlements-now crowd is economically illiterate. They really believe “free” healthcare insurance means no one has to pay for it.

What the members of the House and Senate who passed Obamacare — and exempted themselves from the law — won’t tell you is that over time the only way government provides any service that’s “free” is through rationing.

In the U.K. they have suffered under what leftists here have wanted for decades: government-controlled healthcare with the government paying all the bills. And government there, like government here, controls exploding demand for medical services (it’s “free” remember?) through rationing.

Our future situation will be what they have in the U.K. today: The rich pay for their medical services, while the poor — supposedly benefiting from national healthcare — wait until they are so sick the government can’t postpone treating them any longer.

Reporter Alice Philipson writes that hospitals are making millions by charging for operations that were formerly free through the National Health Service, but have been eliminated to save money. For example, one hospital cited in the Daily Mirror “gives cataract sufferers the option to ‘self-fund’ their operation before their sight deteriorates to the level required for the NHS to operate.”

If a senior citizen doesn’t want to be reduced to using a white cane and a service dog before the NHS will pay for the eye operation, Southampton General Hospital breezily assures them, “Our premier cataract service offers a new option, between the traditional private sector and the NHS, bringing private healthcare within the reach of many more people.”

In what would be called irony, if bureaucrats could be said to grasp the concept, the paying patients are being charged what is termed “Standard NHS prices” for the procedures before NHS stopped providing the procedures.

Even better, this is a situation that can be used for warnings on two continents. While the story should prove to U.S. observers that government interference in the healthcare market is always a failure and we don’t want to follow in the U.K.’s footsteps.
In the U.K., the opposition in Parliament is warning British voters they may have to face a system like the one in the U.S., with “NHS hospitals, built with public money, charging people for treatments that used to be free,” Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said, adding, “We've got to wake people up to what is happening, the first steps toward an American healthcare system, English hospitals now asking for credit cards before they give care.”

Obamacare is going to be a train wreck. If you want a preview of what the aftermath looks like, just take a gander at the U.K.’s National Health Service.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and Chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Click Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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