back to article Stephen Hawking both British and not dead

In perhaps the most amusing effort to discredit US President Barack Obama's plan for nationalized health care - if not the most ridiculous - US financial newspaper Investor's Business Daily has said that if Stephen Hawking were British, he would be dead. "The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through …


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  1. David Webb


    Denied? I know people have been refused treatment for a smoking related condition because you know, they didn't quit smoking, but thats logic. People have also been refused medication because its too expensive and NICE cannot justify the cost. But the NHS won't turn away anyone in an emergency, they won't check your wallet to see if you have valid insurance, indeed, they will send a helicopter to pick people up! Can you imagine how much that would be put on a bill in the US if you were not insured?

    And yes, Hawkins is brilliant, and ours, maybe they should change his voice box to a English accent though, as it seems to confuse people! Also I'm thankful Hawkins is still alive today, he should be an inspiration to everyone of what a person with the most severe handicaps can do in life.

  2. Jeremy 2

    Bloody Americans :P

    Honestly, what is it with their fear of anything even remotely close to almost being considered socialist?

    Thing is, they won't even discuss it with you (I've lived with lots of them for the last year). As soon as you question a neo-con's 'beliefs', they'll respond with a one sentence snappy rebuttal like "Because I shouldn't have to support spongers" or something equally stupid.

    Honestly, love their country, hate their politics!

  3. jake Silver badge


    I'm not surprised ... The subject is not exactly IBD's forte, now is it?

    That said, near as I can tell Obama's plan will just ad another layer of bureaucracy to what we have now. Worse, it'll be a GOVERNMENTAL bureaucracy ... Tell me again how this is going to streamline things and bring healthcare costs down to where everyone will be insured?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Dumb as Hitler.

  5. Tim 3


    In America "Liberal" is an insult. It basically means you're inviting terrorists in to blow up "the best nation on Earth".

    A small step backwards and maybe they'd see that you don't have to milk someone dry for healthcare. I mean $9,000-17,000 to deliver a baby. Or upto $25,000 to have a C-Section. It's insane, how the system has lasted this long I've no idea.

    (Wolfram Alpha tells me our health system works so badly we live 0.9 Years longer on Average)

  6. Adam 38


    In America

  7. Michael B.

    Re: Bloody Americans

    I have a perfectly sane, in most respects, American friend who has lived in many countries around the world. One time he overheard me saying something like: "Chomsky is interesting and has some useful things to say" to another friend and he exploded into a tirade about Chomsky using Marxist rhetoric. The strange thing was that I was talking about Chomsky in terms of Grammar trees not his politics.

  8. Pete 43

    so pretentious...

    going around speaking with an amerkin accent

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    How much of The Reg's stories now originate on Reddit?

  10. Palladius

    Even if it were so...

    Would the statement constitue a decent argument even if it weren't an sterling example of farsical, culpable, ignorance?

    Assuming the NHS were so poorly funded that health provision had to be strictly rationed, and further assuming that increasing the funding to humane levels was not possible for whatever reason, would dying on a waiting list be better or worse than dying because you simply couldn't afford treatment?

    Is his statement simply that inequity is only intolerable when rich, influential people suffer?

  11. Law

    RE: Republicans

    "Dumb as Hitler".... they are worst... at least he knew where Britain is located on a map, granted, it had a big red X drawn on it, with model planes and tanks scattered around, but still... you get the point.

  12. 7mark7


    The UK spends 8% of GDP on health care. The US spends 16%.

    People in the UK live longer and we have a much lower infant mortality rate. We are only a bit less fat.

    That seems pretty efficient to me and we don't ever worry about medical bills.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Iraq war $1T - 4330 Americans Dead - over 30,000 wounded. Reason: catch-Osama-but-he's-to-smart-for-you-dumb-shits-so-mission-waste-of-time. ( we'll discount all those evil Iraqi scum that are also dead and wounded - yes, sarcasm ) - amount of debate before the bombs dropped - almost nothing - amount of debate now - almost nothing. People dying wholesale. NO PROBLEM.

    Healthcare reform - even if it saves one persons life and costs $1T, I see it as being worth more than the war - this should be a NO BRAINER - and I AM the sucker that's going to be stuck with the bill of paying for all those acid popping, dope smoking, 60's reprobate hypocrite's disposable diapers cause they can't got to the shitter on their own, while listening to Rush and waiting for death in their little retirement home in Kentucky .. ( I almost feel sorry for them :) )

    Seems people dying is the American way - Healthcare is completely contrary to the American spirit of arrogance, ignorance and entitlement.

    Another thing that I wonder about is why they don't talk about the privatization of education? Its so broken ..

  14. Anonymous Coward

    That's just the tip of the iceberg

    We're being bombarded by TV ads saying how horrible Obama's health proposals are, and how all the senior citizens are going to be euthanized the moment it takes effect, and how it's going to usurp Social Security (without mentioning that SS is basically bankrupt, of course)

    As one that doesn't give a damn either way, it's very annoying. I just know our current system isn't working, and I'll welcome pretty much any change.

    It doesn't help that American doctors are the most arrogant and clueless assholes around, with the biggest entitlement attitude you can imagine.

  15. Steve Evans

    @David Webb

    "I'm thankful Hawkins is still alive today, he should be an inspiration to everyone of what a person with the most severe handicaps can do in life."

    Indeed... Although American's don't seem to have a problem with handicaps, especially mental ones. They put them in places of power and authority!

  16. Greem

    @David Webb

    Hawking. That's HawkinG. HawkinS is that bloke with the trousers that are too tight,

  17. Hud Dunlap
    Big Brother

    @david Webb

    If you have an emergency in the US you will be treated. The reasons the bills are so high is because so many people don't pay thier bill. The hospital has to cover that cost. Remember the first child to die in the US of Swine Flu was Mexican and her parents took her to an American Hospital for treatment.

    England's NHS doesn't have millions of people who can just come across the border for treatment.

    I would like to ask Obama about Steven Hawking.

  18. Martin Gregorie

    American newspapers

    Just goes to show why Americans are so ill-informed. Its not their fault: all their news sources have agendas to which they twist what little news they convey[1] before lies are added to make sure the message gets rammed home. Well, maybe it *is* their fault. I've heard it said that a nation gets the newspapers they deserve.

    I worked for a year in NYC back in the mid 70s, which then had four thick, respectable daily papers, but only one of them, the New York Times, carried any foreign news at all and 80% of that was about Israel.

    The really amazing things about this story are that enough Americans have heard of Hawking to get his name in a paper and the ease with which the unavailability of health care to poor Americans was kicked under the carpet.

    [1] I've never forgotten watching the prime time ABC news in LA one evening. It was nominally an hour of news but 50 minutes of that was sport. The remaining 10 minutes covered five stories. Four were the sort of stuff that would make it into a local rag on a quiet night here (a row of four shops on fire in Ventura was the lead) and the remaining one was a Washington DC story that was covered the way the BBC might cover an Albanian election.

  19. Trevor Watt

    Like Hawkins...

    Like Hawkins, if it were not for the NHS I would be dead. Several times over. Unlike Hawkins I am not a brilliant scientific mind, just a plain and simple farty working man. Yet the NHS and the tax-payuers of the UK have spent probably hundreds of thousands of pounds on me, my wife, my kids, including maternity care and post natal care etc.

    And that is the thing about the NHS. It cares not who or what you are, we are all equal in the eyes of the NHS. Sure there are some things that can be a 'Postcode Lottery' like fertility treatment, but the real life saving stuff is free (well tax funded), always and to everyone.

  20. Bruce 9

    Die early in the UK

    ... it is beyond dispute that treatment in the US is better. Diagnosed with prostate cancer and want to survive for the next five years? In Britain you have a 74 per cent chance. In the US, it is 98 per cent. For leukaemia, the American survival rate is close to half, while in Europe it is a third.

  21. Michael 28

    eat the rich!

    Pharmacists on strike in Ireland, Fred-the-shred's bonus , gay house of commons members complaining about their salaries and lack of perks, russian economy down 11% in the last year, ......the americans should be glad the airports are still open and not sold off in a foreclosure to the chinese IMHO. Fatcat american doctors might want to start making housecalls again,before the borders close- bring your own tamiflu.

    The economy can only be rebuilt by people.. they can't do it if they're sick. wtf?

    People are living in their cars cos their houses are reposessed.... wtf? and these guys are still protecting a gravy train?.... Wrong time, wrong place.

    I can see castro dancing a jig from here!

  22. Doc Spock

    I may be wrong...

    ...but I was under the impression that the proposal Obama is suggesting is that there is a state-run alternative to Medicare. That is, the government will provide competition in the marketplace for medical insurance, thus aiming to cause Medicare to offer better deals. As I recall, people will still be free to use Medicare if they wish, but their premiums may go down if a lot of people choose the state run option (since Medicare will want to entice customers back).

    I haven't heard how much the state-run outfit will be subsidised by taxpayers, but I really doubt it'll be as much as we pay for the NHS in the UK: in 2008 National Insurance payments in the UK were typically 6.8% of your income (

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @Hud Dunlap

    "England's NHS doesn't have millions of people who can just come across the border for treatment."

    I suspect that millions of Scots and Welsh might have something to say about that.

  24. Miami Mike


    As an American, and not ashamed of being one, I usually make some attempt to defend my nation even when it does something not overly bright (which does happen, sometimes discouragingly often.)

    This time, I can offer no defense and no excuse. IBD is just plain WRONG and just plain STUPID. Remember that Forrest Gump said "You just can't fix stupid." These guys just can't be fixed. Someone tell them about fact checking PLEASE, before they embarrass us again.

    They probably also highly recommended investing in Bernie Madoff's funds . . .

    Lets have a big hurrah for fact-free journalism!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm really interested in the American health care system and their opinion of the NHS. Not!

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Die early in the UK

    And what is the US survival rate for people who can't afford health insurance? Put up, or shut the fuck up. Idiot.

  27. adnim

    So much for research...

    and a having a social conscience.

    I do however have a strong belief that all not Americans are fucking retards.

  28. Doc Spock

    I was wrong (kind of)

    Just realised that I'd referenced a Norwegian web page for the National Insurance figure.

    The correct one is 11% of the first £595 a week you earn, then 1% of everything above that. So, someone earning £30k (~$50k) a year will typically pay £3300 a year in N.I. since their weekly gross income is roughly £575. Of course, this is still less than the £5000 in income tax that would be paid.

    Correct reference this time:

    (and for the income tax bit)

    FAIL icon for my previous research abilities...

  29. Sarah Davis

    But the NHS are still very crap !!

    ...but not due to the Doctors and Nurses in the hospital. The problem is (as always) in the crap management, subbing out to the cheapest (and usually most inexperienced) contracters. I've been waiting 4 years for surgury which i was promised would be completed 2 years ago. Other surgury I've now had over 16 years as a really crap GP didn't actually do anything at all for 8 years (i changed my GP and then i was put on a 6 year waiting list) - i could go on

    try suing a crap GP for neglegence, it's impossible

    what the NHS really need is a public inquirey into expenditure for the last 20 years to see where all the money they should have got actually went to.

    for the same amount we pay on N.I. each year in the UK, we would get the best possible service in the USA

  30. TimeMaster T

    @ Bruce 9

    98% survival IF you can afford or have health insurance to get an annual physical to diagnose it in the first place and get treatment in time.

    The article you link to doesn't cite any sources to back up its claim. What was your point again?

  31. Naadir Jeewa

    You say social security, I say...

    I for one am glad that the SS is bankrupt.

  32. Adam Foxton

    ... also they're forgetting

    that we've got Private medical stuff over here, too. So you've got the "socialist" stuff available to help the people who need it (ya know, so they don't die when turned away for having no insurance), and those of us who can afford to put a bit away get to skip the queue, get the best treatment, etc.

    Sounds like any True American would love our system- if they adopted our system the ones who pay more would get the best treatment, the Doctors and Hospitals would get lots of money. And the poor would get the NHS treatment- which means no/fewer innocent Americans die for lack of insurance. Though they may have to wait longer. It's not like no-one would sign up either- in a country of 29 million workers (the UK) Bupa alone has 3Million customers- and covers the spouses/young children of some of them. So that's over 10% of the country voluntarily pays for insurance even when there's a free alternative.

    Glad to hear Hawking is alive, even if he is a creepy computer voice.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US Not Socialist?!

    Hmm, then what might we call the bailout packages to the top US banks/industries, to the tune of $27 trillion so far, all told? The US has long had taxpayer supported programs- the so-called 'Military-Industrial Complex' the best known of them before the current credit debacle once again has proven that the rich look after their own ass and your ass is theirs anyway so learn to like it.

    Meanwhile it's taxpayer support of mere humans that the US Immoderate Right despises so much. Those neighbourly folks believe that God and 'the Church' are just fine looking after the parts that need looking after and the rest won't matter to God anyway once He comes back and fixes things up good.

    And He's coming soon so don't expect and money at all for schools, hospitals, brilliant or for that matter mediocre physicists or any such secular evils! When we're all in heaven and God has revealed His Mercy and Love the Knowledge of Good, Evil and just about anything else will be completely unecessary. So we all ought to be working for the Second Coming Right Friggin Now and none of this caring for your neighbour through taxpayer supported programs.

    Can I hear Halleluiah! Palin 2012!

  34. Mike Echo

    Rent a crowd?

    How many of the people we saw on the news arguing rabidly against Obama's plan were funded by the health care insurers and other vested interests? I live in Oz and would gladly pay a little more towards improving public health even if some other poor bugger has to use it and not me.

  35. Leigh Smith

    To paraphrase...

    I'd rather have the NHS and not need it, than need the NHS and not have it.

    In your face right-wing nut-jobs from across the pond.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    too right Adnim

    i look at the NHS and such social health care systems and a measure of how much a country cares about it's own people.

    it seems to me that our American cousins STILL have a post McCarthy hangover with "socialism".

    now i am now a socialist and wouldn't consider myself a liberal BUT i certainly DO believe in the NHS and support it fervently.

    all this moronic crap being said in American should be enough to make most Americans blush(at least).

    why don't they try and "sell" this to the money mongers by telling them a simple truth.........

    a healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce.

    seems to me that the HMO's have a very very very heavy lobbying tactic that seems very effective.

    i think a way to fix the lobbying problem there is to make a change to the political donations system there.

    this would help end industry having such a heavy heavy hand in political decision that should have damn all to do with them,.

    As to the comment about just "England", well the NHS in Wales even gives prescription medicines to patients free and this is coming to Scotland too.

    What does make me laugh my ass off is that a fair amount(by no means all) of americans consider "liberals" to be "socialist" when liberals are in the center in the spectrum and to the left of thatis socialism and then further left of that the farce that is communism.

    mind you both communism and fascism ate different end of the same stick in totalitarian terms , however it seems most Americans seem to very much confuse liberal with socialist......

    again i suspect this is a post McCarthy thing leaving the whole counytry with a hangover of the fear of anything near center and left of center.

    such a shame.

    posters above stated that this is the time when there are people in need of a system of social healthcare that works due to them losing homes and jobs and suffering most due to the economic decline caused by greedy lying banking bastards.

    these people are spot on.

    or is it just fair to assume that the American dream really is "I AM JUST OUT FOR ME AND FUCK EVERYONE ELSE"?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The point is that people needing health care in the US will no longer need a credit card check. Along with the high murder rate, this is one of the most disgusting things about our ex colony.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Hud Dunlap

    "England's NHS doesn't have millions of people who can just come across the border for treatment."

    I believe EU citizens would be legible for treatment.

  39. _wtf_

    Stephen Hawking both???

    I didn't know there were two of him!!!

  40. Steen Hive


    Individually lovely people - collectively thick as shit in the neck of a bottle, daft as brushes and ugly as a bag of chisels.

    //Signed another pauper saved from corpsedom by the NHS.

  41. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Re: Die early in the UK

    It's the 5year survival rate and is based on the number screened. You die on average at 72,

    Detect prostate cancer in 15% of 67year olds and your statistics say 85% survival rate.

    Screen everybody at 60, tick prostate cancer on their chart, do nothing, they die at 72 - you have a 100% cure rate.

  42. Pete "oranges" B.

    Steady, Gentlemen.

    It's the printing of news stories the like of this one that ensure any rational, detached discussion of the affairs of nations is trodden beneath the feet of the panicked masses.

    While communal health care is a fine and noble end, a government run insurance program alone is insufficient to serve the needs of the populous in an ethical and transparent manner.

    I would have little contention if the there was a realistic plan to build state owned and operated medical infrastructure, both to provide care and possibly to train medical personnel, but sadly there is not. To my mind this is the only way to ensure both maximum efficiency, and to provide the kind of direct and appropriate oversight needed in all public institutions.

    Most people would be appalled if the government started handing out FedEx coupons in lieu of running the postal service, or if the armed forces were to be disbanded in favor of hiring operatives from Blackwater, but they are more than willing to stand by and watch as their government shunts off their medical needs onto what amount to private contractors and subcontractors. At best this will turn those private medical institutions into what massive defense spending turned Raytheon and General Dynamics into, and at worst spawn a never ending struggle between medical ethics of medicine and science and the caprices of Washington pencil pushers.

    Furthermore (and this is directed at the A/C appearing at 21:34 GMT of Wednesday), Hitler may have been a dangerous, unstable, amoral son of bitch, but he was most certainly not "Dumb."

    That is, however, precisely the kind of response I would expect from some gormless troglodyte lacking the ambition even to go by a proper title, let alone wage war on the powers of Europe.

    (And before you claim party prejudice, I am most definitely /not/ a Republican, I'm an Anarchist)

    Well, I've said my piece, let the confederacy array themselves.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 13th August 2009 00:12

    You fail to understand the key aspect of the proposed health care "reforms" being pushed by Obama and his minions: the main purpose is to buy votes. Actual health care is secondary.

    My viewpoint is that any program that isn't good enough for Congress, isn't good enough for me.


  44. jake Silver badge

    @7mark7, et ali

    "The UK spends 8% of GDP on health care. The US spends 16%."

    Whatever the numbers, re-read what I said.

    I never said I was against nationalized health care. What I said was that it seems to me that the Obama plan allows the CURRENT system to continue, and then ADDS another layer of bureaucracy to help those who can't afford health care. In other words, it'll INCREASE the total cost. That ain't the way to fix the system, no matter how you look at it.

    "People in the UK live longer"

    I very much doubt that. MY friends in the UK, most of whom I went to high-school with, all look 10-20 years older than I do, and all of them are constantly complaining about health issues. I feel fine, no major issues (other than my British dental work all needing major R&R over the last 20 years). This age group is 50ish. But then I'm a sample of one, and all of my Grandparents made it into (or past in one case; Mom's dad made it to 104) their late 90s. Around here, folks are saying "50 is the new 30, and 60 is the new 40".

    "and we have a much lower infant mortality rate."

    I wouldn't doubt it. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing in the current global economy. I also don't know if that is a fact, or something you pulled out of your ass.

    "We are only a bit less fat."

    Isn't that kinda like "a bit less pregnant"? Fewer calories & more exercise ... should be a mantra in all of the more developed nations ...

    "That seems pretty efficient to me and we don't ever worry about medical bills."

    Instead, you worry about when you can get fit in for whatever procedure you need to survive ... and if you can get fit in on time. I once lived with a very painful molar, to the point of being unable to drive (or sleep!) for several weeks. This was in Yorkshire. In this country (USA), Emergency would take me in even without insurance without notice on my part.

    There is an answer, probably some hybrid of the two systems. But I'm not smart enough to figure it out. On the bright side, I'm glad all the commentards above are such experts on the subject. With all of them on the job, it'll surely be straightened out shortly & we can go back to discussing important things, like how to release a paper airplane from a weather balloon at 100,000 feet.

  45. Graham Triggs

    It's not one way or another

    Reading the article that is linked, it's a little less sensationalist than made out. The NHS isn't a bottomless pit of money, and so yes, there are times where it has to make decisions to get the best value for treating the most people. There will be some unfortunate consequences to that, but it's not inherently wrong.

    Where the article completely misses the mark is that it assumes you can't have a mixed model - private treatment for people that can afford it, but a good standard of 'free' care for everyone that can't.

    Whilst some cases of denied treatment exist with the NHS, there are far more cases in the US of people that can't afford healthcare, are denied health insurance, or worse, where the insurance companies find loopholes to get out of paying for treatments.

  46. Eddy Ito

    The problem isn't healthcare

    What gets spent on healthcare has practically nothing to do with who pays. It's the bloody ambulance chasing lawyers and their "I'm a victim" clients driving a doc's insurance rates up to stupid levels and the asinine parents who insist on taking their little "bundle of joy" chitlins to the docs, or worse the ER , every bloody time they get the sniffles and insists on getting the latest and greatest antibiotic that will be useless against the virus their little petrie dish is spreading around.

    That said, much of what both sides say on the subject is utter bollocks. The part I don't like is this mandatory insurance crap based on the theory that if you force healthy or wealthy people to buy insurance then costs will be lowered for everybody. I'm sorry the concept of fining someone who is willing to pay his own medical bills isn't freedom of choice. They feel by calling it "buying insurance" people will feel better about it than if it was called what it really is, Medicare 2.0. Other than that, I have no opinion on the subject except to say that Singapore has a nice system, can't we start with that?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Rent a crowd?

    Here here Mike. As an Oz resident also I echo your point.

    The best thing we did was vote out the "Republican Lite" Liberal Party (ironic name) government of Bush's favorite arse-licker, J Howard. That dishonest shifty, lying, little fucking turd wanted to make Australia a mini version of the US, from his "reforms" to work place laws and attempts to coerce all workers to buy health insurance to wanting to portray Australia as a deputy to the US in east Asia.

    I would rather accept a lower standard of living overall and pay more tax to fund a universal health system, if indeed it requires more tax than the alternative, to look after me and my loved ones even if were riding high at the time or caught at a bad time when an illness, tragedy hits.

    That Americans's don't want similar shows how brainwashed they are. Kim Jong-Il would be proud of the snow job the US health profiteers have done.

  48. Bruce 9

    Free doesn't help if you are dead

    "And what is the US survival rate for people who can't afford health insurance?"

    The figures were for all people in the US, insured and uninsured.

    If you are implying that the death rate is higher for uninsured, that would imply the death rate for insured is even lower and the NHS is even crappier.

    For ignorant morons in the UK, the US has three major " public insurance schemes, Medicare, Medicaid and Medigap.

    Of course they are all going to go broke soon.

    By the way, many of the "uninsured" choose to do that becasue of free choice. They spend their money elsewhere.

    "At least 44% of the uninsured are uninsured by choice, and the number could be much higher than that. An Urban Institute study found that:

    •One in every four uninsured persons is eligible for Medicaid or SChip, but has not enrolled.

    •One in five has a family income in excess of $58,000 and presumably can afford coverage.

    This is a minimum estimate. Of those who earn less than $58,000, there are undoubtedly many who can afford coverage because:

    •They have access to an employer plan, (almost one in five uninsured turn down employer coverage.)

    •Even if their employer does not provide health insurance, they have opportunities to work for employers who do, but choose not to.

    •They are young and healthy or live in rural areas and face premiums much lower than the $9,961 annual premium assumed by the Urban Institute scholars.

    •They are near retirement and can draw on assets to pay premiums until they become eligible for Medicare."

  49. Anonymous Coward

    The problem with socialists and their misunderstanding of history

    Jeremy 2 asks, "Honestly, what is it with their fear of anything even remotely close to almost being considered socialist?"

    Americans have a healthy fear of government wielding the power of the gun, taking their money, taking their property, taking their lives, taking the lives of others, taking the goods of others, and giving all the stuff they work for to others for politicians' political gains.

    Where did it come from?

    Americans spent a half century shedding their money & blood because of European love for Socialism:

    - Hitler was a Socialist

    - Stalin was a Socialist

    - Eastern Europe was enslaved by Socialists

    Some examples:

    - America spent a half a century accepting refugees from countries because of socialism gone bad.

    - Americans spent a half a century sending food to countries because of socialism gone bad.

    - There would not be individual countries in Europe or free countries in other parts of the world if Americans did not have a healthy fear of Socialism.

    Common Americans would rather give something freely to someone in need out of their poverty rather than have it taken from them at the muzzle of a gun wielded by the Socialist Government Tax Man.

    The Socialist Americans give less freely from their own wealth to the poor.

    Socialists believe no one else is giving (because they don't give from their own wealth), and thus encourage the government to take it from others (including themselves) at the muzzle of a gun through mandatory taxes on people (just like them), to relieve themselves of the guilt, and feel like they and others like them are being punished adequately for their moral inadequacies.

    The Socialist mindset is just sick to the Common American - their ancestors fled Socialism at the muzzle of guns and their children continually return to fight it ,wielding guns of their own, in a mostly volunteer army.

    The problem falls to one or both of the following two issues:

    - Socialists refuse to acknowledge history & modern facts - don't try to understand the American mindset

    - Socialists are just too ill-educated to understand history & modern facts - just can't figure it out the American mindset

    Instead of foul-mouthing, bad-mouthing, and posting hate of freedom loving Americans out of ignorance, perhaps Europeans should enjoy their Socialism, try to understand Americans, and allow ex-patriots Europeans to become Americans and allow emigrants to bear the fruit of their decision with dignity due them.

    FAIL for the Socialist misunderstanding of history and modernity.

    FAIL for ignorant posters using foul language and hate against Americans who fled Socialist countries.

    FAIL for ignorant posters using foul language and hate against Americans who shed their blood generation after generation for bailing out millions from Socialism-gone-bad.

  50. Moss Icely Spaceport

    @Stephen Hawking both???

    Yes, there ate 2 of him.

    This is the result after a few of his earlier experiments with 'time'.....

  51. dgp


    @The problem with socialists and their misunderstanding of history

    >> Americans have a healthy fear of government wielding the power of the gun,

    Big problem with Americans is that the assume Gun == Ultimate source of power and protection.

    >> taking their money

    Um, that's called taxation, most governments do that.

    >> taking their property,

    In real socialism you don't really need the concept of either money or property.

    >>taking their lives,

    You still have the death penalty over there right?

    >> taking the lives of others,

    Ok, so what was Iraq then?

    @Hud Dunlap

    There's actually a huge problem with people coming from countries like India on "holiday" and then "getting sick here" (Read: they were already sick) getting thousands of pounds worth of treatments and then legging it back home without paying. Yes, America is hard-done-by booohooo.

  52. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    We already have a social system, and it is FAIL

    Medicare and Medicaid are social programs, administrated by the government. They are also billions of dollars in debt. More than a few medical providers have been forced into bankruptcy because of unpaid Medic* obligations. Oh, and you cannot sue the government, hence you cannot sue Medic* to compel treatment or resolve a grievance.

    Doctors and hospitals also have high service charges because of a tort system which allows such high awards for meritless malpractice claims which get settled out of court for obscene and often undisclosed amounts just to make the problems go away as the cost of settlement is still often less than the cost of trial, win or lose. That in turn raises the requirements and costs for malpractice insurance. Unabated fraud to the tune of $11 billion per year also appears to be an issue.

    The "reforms" being pushed by the current administration are predicated on lies and misinformation. Forget the fact that the entire debate makes it sound like every single American is in desperate need of medical care, which is wholly untrue.

    There are not 47 million uninsured Americans. There are ways around the pre-existing conditions issue, which is already limited by 1997's HIPAA. We get told many times that the public option will not eliminate private insurance in favor of a single-payer system against which you have no recourse, and yet in his own words Obama states that he wants a single-payer system and it would take 15 to 20 years. We are told this is not a Trojan horse, and indeed it is not: it is a poison pill.

    The public option is a misnomer. This "option" is provided as an alternative to "approved" health care programs. Government sets the standards and controls the competition. If the health insurance you have now does not meet the standards, and therefore not approved, you can keep it but you will also pay a 2.5% penalty against your gross adjusted income in your taxes (ignoring the fact that punitive taxes are starkly against what our Founders ever wanted.) Yes, you can keep your current insurance, as Obama has repeatedly assured us, but if it is unapproved then you will surrender more of the money you earn. And that is only until so many people drop your carrier that it shuts down.

    Obama makes these two contradictory statements:

    Transcript: Obama, AARP Hold Health Care Town Hall | LiveWire

    "My interest is not in getting between you and your doctor, although keep in mind right now, insurance companies are often getting between you and your doctor." (n.b. My insurance has NEVER come between my doctor and I.)

    (Video) Obama tells woman instead of a pacemaker we might give old ladies a pill (Updated) :: Political News and commentaries :: Hyscience

    "...we can let doctors know, and maybe your mom know, that, you know what? This isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the pain killer."

    How do you reconcile these statements? So a government committee will tell you and your doctor, "no, no, just take pain pills... it will be over soon." Should we prepare for the introduction of the Administration of Sunset Health Affairs (a Sunset Czar, perhaps?) If you refuse to visit a doctor for end-of-life counseling -- and at what age do you do this, anyway? -- do they send the Sunset Squad after you?

    Perhaps if government-run health care was not already an abysmal failure -- Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Indian Affairs, etc. -- we might have more faith in a program.

    But all of that aside, let us just consider one thing: these so-called representatives who purport to be working for us, who have been given power BY the People and not OVER the People, are there to listen to us, and to pay attention to our bidding. When an agenda has mass support, disproportionate to the dissent, the support is taken at face value with little thought given to special interests and radical groups. But when an agenda has mass dissent, such as with Cap-and-Trade (Waxman-Markey,) when politicians proudly admit to the press that they blatantly ignored the "disproportionate" opposition, it stinks of force-fed agenda.

    We as IT people understand the benefits of a distributed system: you distribute load, you distribute power, you distribute storage, you distribute backups, and so forth. How can we happily accept that a single-point system will not fail? In a distributed system we expect rotating outages of a certain percentage, and we focus our efforts on the specific area; the rest continues to operate.

    Which is why social health care systems in states like Oregon can be a mess, while my private health care in Florida, for which I pay out of my own pocket, works just fine. I can see my doctor when necessary; I can see a specialist when necessary; I can get an MRI when necessary; all within days, not months. I even get discounts on health programs like gym memberships, and reimbursement up to $150 per year on such programs.

    Paris, to be continued...

  53. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    We already have a social system, and it is FAIL (pt2)

    Why carpet bomb a working system like this to favor the relative few who are chronically uninsured? Why not focus specialized effort on these and bring them to the level of excellence many of us already enjoy, rather than spreading mediocrity?

    The system does have its faults, some due to government over- and under-regulation. Why does the government not enforce the Commerce Clause and prevent private insurance companies from limiting coverage to specific states? Why does the government place specific limitations on what can be charged for services, which often do not meet even half of the costs to provide these services? And then in many documented cases refuse to pay, or suddenly deny after-the-fact, services already approved? Why does the government not simplify the filing process in order to streamline the system and make it easier to provide valuable services?

    And infant mortality rates as a comparison between countries is invalid. The CIA Worldbook and World Health Organization already recognize that industrialized countries often differ in criteria for recorded birth, thus making comparison virtually impossible. The United States is noted for herculean rescue efforts for new-borns, and record every birth (there are birth certificates immediately followed by death certificates in the US,) while other countries require specific birth weights, gestation periods, after-birth living periods, and/or other criteria before a birth is recorded.

    A great failing in the arguments to support this program, which, by the way, the President has yet to produce anything in writing, has admitted not reading the House bill, and has put nothing forth to the Senate bill, is that if you enforce prevention, the people will follow. Is there a doctor out there who does not mention obesity issues to patients? Is there a doctor out there who ignores high cholesterol? Who tells patients "eat all the fat you want, laze around on the couch all day, and don't forget to load up the salt"? No! Americans are counseled on preventative care habits all the time, between our doctors, media, and our own community influences. There are gyms, trails, walkways, and so on which go unused. Does anyone really believe that health care reform will change that? I believe the people who want government to give them everything will demand that government keep them healthy despite unhealthy habits.

    None the less, the United States has higher survival rates for common forms of cancer, higher heart attack survival rates, higher preventative care rates, and so on. We receive care within weeks for ailments. Every pharmaceutical company in the country has a program to provide drugs for reduced prices or even free for those who need them (oh, but we never hear about this from the evil companies!) We have many organizations which provide additional support for those in need of medical care, from the community level to the national level. In other words, we take care of our people. The quality of care is very high, even with its shortcomings.

    So, when told that we spend 16% of our nation's GDP versus whatever percent other countries spend, do we consider the quality of care? If our health care system is so bad, then why do citizens of other countries come here so frequently for care their own country has denied? Why did our own representative with cancer not go to the UK or Canada for treatment? I appreciate the quality of care I receive and am happy to pay 16% of my income for it, but I am opposed to handing over any of my income and not have control over the care I receive -- I have options, I have recourse, I have freedom to choose, question, and sue if necessary.

    All things considered, I see little reason to dismantle a program that DOES work in favor of a system which has already been proven (within our country, so keep your knickers untwisted you non-Yanks) to be a disaster. Fixing the problems in the health care system does not mean you have to destroy it.

    The American way is to live and let live, and our Founders believed that so much they codified it into our Constitution -- that we may live our lives with no interference from the government, and protection from those who would interfere. But even our Founders knew that there are times when we have to leave our day-to-day lives and take action to protect our liberties and our freedoms.

    And if you do not believe that the systematic dissolution of our industries is not leading to the elimination of liberties and freedoms, you need to wake up. The live-and-let-live backbone of our great nation has been roused, and the greatest special interest on the face of the planet is on the move: the Will of The People. They will not be silenced by claims of racism, intimidation, bobble-heads like Bill Press telling them to stay home, morons from Hollywood, worthless wenches like Pelosi who call them Nazis, and jack-asses like Dingle who compare them to the Ku Klux Klan.

    It is okay to depict a "McCain * Palin" pin on the uniform of a Nazi circa-1939, but it is not okay for The People to speak out how they see things and demand explanations and to be heard by the very people to whom they have given -- nay, loaned -- power. It is okay for Organize for America and various unions to coordinate protests, and that is considered the glorious exercise of the First Amendment, but those who oppose "reform" are arrogant, ignorant, mad mobs, and other defamatory categorizations.

    Wake up. Everyone.

    Paris, proven to be a disaster. Maybe she would not be if we just spent more money on her, too.

  54. Number6


    It's a shame they changed the article, a real classic.

    As for the healthcare argument, in the UK if you get sick you join a waiting list and eventually get treated. If you've got money then you can have private health insurance that means you don't have to wait. In the US if you get sick and and have money, you get treated and don't have to wait. If you haven't got the money then you don't get treated, full stop. The big difference appears to be what happens if you haven't got the money.

    Of course, taking the lawyers and the malpractice stuff out of the US system would probably bring the costs down to something more sensible.

  55. P. Lee

    re: The problem with socialists and their misunderstanding of history

    Well done sir! I haven't had such a good laugh in ages!

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

  57. Apocalypse Later


    "we don't ever worry about medical bills"

    In the USA they don't pay 6 dollars a (US) gallon for petrol or 17.5 VAT on everything plus higher income taxes. Over here the worry isn't about paying, it is about whether and when you will get the treatment you have ALREADY PAID for.

  58. Paul 141

    myths, facts

    In the US, you get emergency treatment, regardless of insurance. That is the law.

    Americans do not like socialism, since they are, well, Americans. you know, as in different from British. Isn't diversity great?

    Survival rate of cancer, for example, in the US, is 35% higher than that of the UK (and even higher than the french. Why should they want UK NHS model??

  59. Jessica Werkz

    Having experirenced both sides

    I was in SF years ago and my wife ate something she shouldn't have and it had a bad effect on her. We called 911 and they turned up within a couple of minutes and whisked her off to the hospital and she was sorted out in 10 minutes. Then the hospital asked about payment. Dunno what my cash problem was but I couldnt pay right then. They sent us a bill - $100 - to our home and we paid it. Good service.

    Somehow it's just never as efficient in the UK and as I smoke heaven knows what treatment will be refused to me in the future and decided on by someone playing God.

    With the tax I pay on cigarettes I think I have more than paid my contribution towards the NHS but am sure that arguement won't wash and all I'll ever get is a load of moralising nonsense.

    Hospitals seem to be full of people who have done Prince 2 courses.

  60. Mark Burgum

    people over the border

    My Dad used to work for Irish shipping, and tells me the back in the day women would come into Britain on ship to take advantage of our health service to have there baby as they would have had to pay at home. So its a problem we have always had over here.

    ironically the women concerned where fairly wealthy American's coming over on cruise ships.

  61. Armus Squelprom
    Big Brother

    "The problem with socialists" rant

    And there, ladies and gentlemen, is our problem. As AC (13.08 14.30) so eloquently demonstrates, whole generations of Septics have been brainwashed with the Catechisms of Power & Profit :

    - Socialism, communism or communitarian behaviour is always bad. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God gave each his station and ordered his estate.” It is God's will. Anyone who tampers is a freedom-hating commie, and will be crushed like the Wobblies (or those pesky native americans).

    - America's military-industrial complex is always good. Saving the world does require carpet bombing of various brown-skinned foreigners, but they'll feel good knowing they died for freedom. Anyone who questions this is a freedom-hating commie, and will be detained indefinitely in an offshore torture facility.

    - Any historical or scientific fact which doesn't suit the prejudices of Joe Six-Pack and Faux News is invalid. History will be rewritten to suit Septic sentiments (Rambo, U-751, Braveheart), and science only counts if we like it (climate change, stem-cells, birth control).

    I do agree with that AC that there's no point in being abusive towards Septics who hold these flat-earth views. They sincerely believe it, as we would if we had grown up in their milieu, and at an individual level Septics are as kind and generous as any other people. Unfortunately, as a nation they more closely resemble the dystopic fantasy of Starship Troopers (movie) every day.

  62. Anonymous Coward

    @Free doesn't help if you are dead

    There are private options in the UK as well you know?

    Under the US system my father would be bankrupt and divorced, since he recovered his faculties after doctors had given up which means in the US the medical companies would have tried to recover fees from him and his spouse who would have had to choose divorce or bankruptcy.

  63. Anonymous Coward

    Dumb as fuck

    Holy fuck, Anonymous 04:30. You just might be the world's dumbest person. What a fucking load of shit you posted.

  64. Jessica Werkz

    Anti-American comments

    Some of the anti-American comments, in fact most, just make me cringe. Most of them are the usual ignorant trash talk that belongs in the Sunday comics and gets spoken about as pub talk.

    Just makes me embaressed to be English.

  65. Kevin Rudd

    @The problem with socialists and their misunderstanding of history

    Socialist Stalin was a US, Western ally in WW2 and the US or the West did not battle a Soviet army.

    The US was generous to US ally comrade Uncle Joe in providing the Soviet army with lots of equipment to fight Fascist Hitler. In fact Uncle Joe and FDR stitched up a deal better them that duded loyal Western ally Winston.

    Hitler's party was "National Socialist" but it doesn't mean they are foundered on socialist principles, the name of the party don't mean shit. eg in Australia, the conservative, right wing party is called the Liberal Party but are in no way "liberal" in the way that American's have corrupted the term. They are "Republican lite" politically.

  66. Anonymous Coward

    @AC - Socialists

    You are aware that Hitler was a Nazi, not a socialist? He was quite famous for that, as it happens... he made quite a point of exterminating socialists (his opponents) in concentration camps. He was the loony right wing guy from Germany, not the loony left wing guy from Russia.

    You are also aware that we are talking about the NHS, a UK system? That was put in place by a left wing government, but has support from everyone (although most can find faults).

    You are also aware that the UK is a democracy, has been for a long time, fought Hitler from the start, did fewer deals with Stalin than the US did, and was in NATO not the Warsaw Pact the whole way through?

    Exactly where is this obsessive "all my opponents are socialists" and "only socialists like public health care" thing coming from?

    @ Some of the other comments - this seems to really boil down to (a) Obama isn't suggesting the NHS, but some other sheme which may, or may not work, (b) but everyone is using the NHS as a reference point while (c) not understanding it or how it fits into the private system. Typically though there is lot of waffle around that and only a couple of posters actually asking whether the thing proposed is workable or advisable. Politics in action, as per usual.

    The Welcome Mat, for health tourists (they do exist whether we like it or not) and because its probably the most underused graphic.. AC because I'm at work...

  67. Anonymous Coward

    People seem to forget

    People seem to forget oh so easily that the US report was a true reflection of the NHS some years ago.

    People also seem to forget that some of our European neighbours (France & Germany?) about the same time were recommending that their citizens should return home for health treatment rather than rely on NHS under travel health arrangements.

    That has changed in the last few years due mainly if not singularly to - shock! horror! - an elected Labour government.

    The comments are likely to return truthful should an alternative party be elected to power especially one that is misanthropic in nature.

    On the other hand I am given to understand that there are orders of magnitude differences between US and UK health care providers.

    Where costs in the US might be in region of 2,000 USD a similar procedure in UK weighs in about 20,000 GBP.

    Also, levels of service.

    In the UK we might think that "canteen mentality" is the only solution (sleep through breakfast time = no breakfast mate!) in the US one may order meals at any time delivered to your roon along with a nice chianti if permissible.

    Where one is user centric the other is admin centric?

  68. Steven Jones

    @Bruce 9 & Prostate Cancer

    I suggest you do a bit more reading around the reasons for the difference in prostate cancer stats in the US and the UK as you clearly haven't any real idea what you are talking about in this respect. Scientific American carried an article on it.

    Essentially the difference is dued to the (controversial) practice in the US of regular PSA screening for prostate cancer. What this leads to is the US having far and away the highest measured incidence of prostate cancer in the world. This leads to early diagnosis, although the evidence that this actually makes much difference to mortality is rather poor. What does happen is that a large number of men are subject to unpleasant and, potentially dangerous treatments for a condition that would not have killed them (prostate cancer is usually a slowly progressing disease, and very often men will die of something else first).

    When you start looking at the age-adjusted mortality figures for the US and UK they are reasonably comparable. Slightly in favour of the US, but only by a very small margin. Quite simply, if you diagnose a slowly developing disease early, you will, of course, have a higher 5 year survival rate, but you might well just get an extra few years of worry, unpleasant treatment and very likely die of something completely different.

    PSA screening is medically controversial, but in a system driven by maximising the incomes for medical businesses and riddled with eager lawyers vast sums get spent with very little return and, arguably lost of unplesant treatments being inflicted on people. I'd also add, that if men want to go for PSA screening in the UK, then there are lots of doctors that will do it.

    Just to show that this is not a UK argument, here's an article in the Chicago Tribune on the subject. The National Cancer Institute concluded that for men with life expectancies of under 10 years, then they should not do a PSA test as they are unlikely to benefit.

    In the meantime, it's fairly clear that the US, like the UK, contains a large number of people easily swayed by headline statistics who either lack the ability or interest in actually understanding what the hell they are quoting, just as long as it sounds as if it supports their argument...

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what nonsense

    But what can we expect from the American right

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To Bruce 9

    Where did you get those idiotic statistics from - your arse?

    And last time I checked, the US had a LOWER life expectancy than the UK.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The problem with socialists and their misunderstanding of history

    >> Hitler was a socialist

    Hitler was centrist. National socialism has less to do with socialism than Thatcherism has to do with supporting people who make roofs from straw.

    On the standard 2-dimensional political scale, Hitler comes around 2% right of center and 100% authoritarian.

  72. Piggy and Tazzy


    "Instead, you worry about when you can get fit in for whatever procedure you need to survive ... and if you can get fit in on time. I once lived with a very painful molar, to the point of being unable to drive (or sleep!) for several weeks. This was in Yorkshire. In this country (USA), Emergency would take me in even without insurance without notice on my part"

    Well, funnily enough, I live in Yorkshire.

    I also can visit 'Emergency', or 'A&E' and I'd be seen without the need for insurance or notice. Almost every A&E department has a 'maxilofacial' unit, or a dental school which acts as the emergency dental department.

    Methinks you ought to research a little more before using such (incorrect) examples.

  73. rpjs

    "Worse, it'll be a GOVERNMENTAL bureaucracy"

    Personally I'd rather take my chances with a governmental health bureacracy whose purpose is to give me the health care I need, but occasionally faile, than with a private sector health bureacracy whose purpose is to keep profits as high as possible, and usually succeeds.

  74. Mr Larrington


    "Iraq war $1T - 4330 Americans Dead - over 30,000 wounded. Reason: catch-Osama-but-he's-to-smart-for-you-dumb-shits-so-mission-waste-of-time."

    Er, wrong war.

    IRAQ is supposedly about weapons of mass destruction, or Saddam Hussein being a genocidal loon with a crap moustache and simply shocking taste in interior décor, and not at all about the world's second largest oil reserves, no sirree. Also, it's unwinnable.

    AFGHANISTAN is supposedly about wiping out Moslem insaniacs who "we" would never in a million years approach with suitcases full of money in exchange for building pipelines from assorted former Soviet republics or supply with weapons to fight the Formidable Red Army. Also, it's unwinnable.

  75. Chris 267
    Big Brother

    I hate -isms, but...

    @The problem with socialists and their misunderstanding of history

    >> Hitler was a Socialist

    Hitler was a fascist. His party may have been called the National Socialists, but that means about as much as 'Labour' or 'Conservative'.

    >> Stalin was a Socialist

    >> Eastern Europe was enslaved by Socialists

    Stalin was a Communist, and Eastern Europe was enslaved by Communists. It is the single party state that is the most dangerous aspect of communism and fascism, not their economic policies.

  76. Doug Glass

    Idiots Among US

    Neither of the major US political parties (or their supporters and followers) have a corner on the idiot market; there's plenty to go around on both sides. And that seems to be a common thread worldwide in fact.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was reading an article in either the Observer or Graun a week or so ago about a board level former employee of a major health insurance company in the US. He saw what can only be described as a field hospital that was being run by a charity in a poor area of Carolina - south presumably becase people were coming from Georgia for treatment. The "hospital" was pictured and basically looked like MASH. He went on to describe a young girl *with* health insurance disallowed a life saving transplant because the insurance comapny designated transplants as her age as experimental, the fact that it would save them a whole bunch of cash was by the by. The article went on to discuss the needless procedures and medications that many insurance companies carry out 'just in case' in order to avoid lawsuits.

    This is no way for the richest nation on earth to behave.

  78. JohnG

    NHS: Better long term care and incurable conditions

    As a Brit living in Germany for coming up to ten years, I have some experience of both NHS and privately insured healthcare popular in both Germany and the USA. One of the big snags with private healthcare is that insurance companies will bend over backwards to avoid or dump patients with long term or incurable conditions. The NHS is actually quite good at long term care (because they don't look at everything in terms of individual insurance claims) and because they don't have thresholds for types of treatment per patient or shareholders to satisfy.

    I know a few Germans who have looked at moving the the UK specifically because they or their partner needed dialysis or simlar treatments for incurable conditions that were no longer covered by their private insurer.

  79. Anonymous Coward

    To our friends across the pond

    Socialism and communism are not one and the same.

    Got it yet?

    No, thought not.

  80. Thomas 18
    Thumb Down


    Heres a nice editorial summarising many findings on the USA though it is 2 years old:

  81. Saucerhead Tharpe

    ah the Yank loons

    Hitler the Socialist. Nope. In fact the Nazis used the word Socialist in their name to confuse real Socialists. Nazi Germany gave a lot of power to Private Enterprise and had fruitful relations with Americans inc GW's grandfather.

    Stalin was a totalitarian monster whose Soviet state had fuck all to do with Socualism, not much to do with Marxism either to be honest

  82. DrXym

    I don't understand the US at all

    For all the criticism it gets, the NHS is an excellent service and is nothing any country should be ashamed of aspiring to. If somebody is allergic to receiving treatment from a relatively good free service, they are entirely free to augment or replace it with their own private plan such as BUPA. This is as true in Britain as it is in the US.

    It's not even an either / or situation. Countries like Ireland demonstrate a half-way house where private health insurance pays for medical treatment, but if you can't afford private health insurance, the state pays. Whether you go private or not you will usually still be seeing the same doctors in the same hospitals and receiving exactly the same treatment. Private does offer clear advantages but people are not left out in the cold if they can't afford it.

    It should be patently clear that the US system is a shambles by comparison and needs reform. All this blabbering about "socialized medicine" is just absurd hyperbole.

  83. Vanir

    UK and USA have much in common

    Overpaid doctors in the most powerful unions ever.

    An electorate that's too fucking lazy to think and vote coupled with an apathetic attitude to democracy and a propensity to borrow money with an expectation not to have to pay it back.

    If ever there are two nations on this Earth that demonstrate that democracies don't work then the US and the UK are them.

    Let's face it, the bible and the koran don't mention the word 'democracy' or the illustrate the concept; God doesn't bless the US or any other democracy.

    However, the bible does mention that Christ tells the good Samaritan story. Ah, socialism begins with an action of one person, ends up with the NHS. Good.

  84. The BigYin

    Which is worse?

    The UK post code lottery where you may or may not get the best treatment, but you will at least get treatment.

    Or the USA one where unless you have massive health insurance and pay mega-premiums you will be left to die or have to spend the rest of your life in penury to cover the charges.

    Oh my yes. The UK is soooo backward. Hmmm.


    That said, there are many things the NHS could do better. Not spunking millions on managers and business consultants would be a good start!

  85. Paul 4


    Seems they are complaining about the fact that the NSH basis treament on clyincal need not welth of the person. In America, as far as I can tell, the health care insurence dose the same, but the Drs can go "meh not my fault".

  86. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton


    The gun is metaphoric. Taxation is allowed under the Constitution for what is permitted within the powers prescribed by the Constitution, which does not include punishment nor charity. The death penalty is a punishment for taking another life -- not for opposing political ideals (oh, that was Iraq, pre-liberation, right?) And the invasion of Iraq removed a blood-thirsty and power-hungry dictator who ruled his country with fear, propagandist techniques, and tortured and killed his own people.

    Oh, but we allowed him to come to power? That would be 1963 under Lyndon Johnson when the US effectively allowed the Ba'ath party to come to power. After he assumed the presidency in 1979, he was an ally against Iran before violating world moral order and invading a neighboring country. Frankly, we should have dusted his ass in the Gulf War. He was already killing plenty of his own people by then, but we timidly supported a toothless UN resolution.

    Our involvement in the Gulf War will always be transmuted to "blood for oil," but seriously: is it not in any country's interest to ensure the safety of its assets? If the economy of Britain was dependent largely upon a country invaded by an aggressor, should Britain not work to ensure the liberation of its asset country? We tried isolationism, and we got the shit bombed out of us for our effort -- not going to happen again, so long as those who have keen hind-sight have anything to do about it.

    What would you have done, ignore Hussein? What would you do, capitulate with Ackmadenmahadjidad? Just like Europe ignored and tried to capitulate with Hitler?

    Moving on.

    Just because one country lets itself get fucked by sick foreigners does not mean that other countries should allow it. I know, we should be fair -- one country gets screwed, we should all let ourselves get screwed so you do not feel stupid, right? Sorry, no go here, mate.

    Here is a thought: if you (any country) want to allow your people to come over here to get their medical treatment illegitimately, then we can stop providing you (said country) assistance. Back in the 80s we bitched and moaned about how much money we sent to other countries when we have so many people living in poverty in our own country. "Fix things at home first," they cried out. Where is that concern, now?

    Paris, meh, indeed.

  87. Tony S

    @AC 4:30

    "Americans spent a half century shedding their money & blood because of European love for Socialism"

    You mean the 14 months in 1917-18 and the three and a half years from 42-45? I didn't realise that qualified as half a century; on that basis, the Canadians (you know, the ones north of the 49th) spent a century and a bit doing their part. And as others have pointed out, the USA actually made a profit from WWII unlike any other country.

    It's also worth remembering that at the beginning of WWII, the USA was still supplying Germany and a number of US companies continued to trade with Germany thoughout the war thru intermediaries. In fact the US ambassador in GB during the first months of the war advised Roosevelt that we would fall to the Nazis in a matter of 6 weeks, and continued to maintain that position until Dec 7th 1941.

    "The Socialist mindset is just sick to the Common American - their ancestors fled Socialism at the muzzle of guns"

    I would suggest it was more about totalianarianism than socialism - and that's been happening since the 1600s

    "Socialists are just too ill-educated to understand history & modern facts - just can't figure it out the American mindset"

    It was your own president Truman that called the USA "the best half-educated country in the world". Most Americans have no knowledge of any historical event other than what they see on TV / Movies, which is why they have so little real understanding. Most Americans can't even identify countries on a map that they share a border with, let alone one that is a couple of thousand miles away.

    It's also worth noting that UNICEF did some surveys about 10 years ago, and it showed that most children in the "third world" had a better understanding of the economic problems and the operations of the IMF than did any equivalent group of children in the USA.

  88. asdf

    its all the UKs fault in the end

    The fact is if the UK hadn't ran off all the religious nut jobs (ie Puritans, Plymouth Rock) and all the make a million don' t care who dies (ie Jamestown) to America then we would not have these problems. But alas many generations later America is still largely ran by the descendants of these right wing nutjobs. I believe this occurred largely because ignorance and stupidity are heredity as well as very thorough generation after generation brainwashing through careful select home schooling, church that also tells you how to vote, and peer groups that do not allow others that are different (golf club memberships, fraternities, secret societies). The end result is you watch Nascar, listen to Rush, believe natural selection (evolution is only a theory) is work of the devil to test you, vote for W cause he is a real American, and believe them dirty liberals is out to take your guns away. North America is the most beautiful place on earth imho but our politics is embarassing and again its all cause we got stuck with the belly button lint the UK and rest of Europe tossed to the new world.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NI Payments

    A note to those who aren't aware:

    NI payments are supposed to cover much more than just the NHS, including state pensions and assorted benefits (unemployment, illness, mobility, carer's etc.) so it is not reasonable to take the absolute NI figures and extrapolate out to being a cost on the NHS.

    Conversely, although the NHS is supposed to be funded primarily from NI the realities are that there is no provision in the UK to ring-fence any monies raised. Basically we pay income tax, NI, VAT, various duties and other assorted wodges of cash to the government who then pool it together, pay themselves huge salaries, benefits, expenses, pensions and allowances and then dole out what is left to some or all of the entities that ask for it.

  90. Bassey

    NHS saves lives

    I would be interested to hear from our American readers whether or not this could happen in the US.

    My wife and I had a baby on Feb 2nd this year. The Brits here will remember the day. The country was shut down due to snow. He was fine for a while but, after a couple of hours, developed problems requiring an operation. Operations on new-borns require 2 specialist paediatric anaesthetists - the nearest setup was many miles away at Alder Hay, Liverpool. Our son was placed in a specialist incubator and we were collected by ambulance and driven, with Blues and Twos, through the snow to our local airport. We were placed in an air-ambulance and flown (at very low altitude, to protect the baby) to Liverpool airport - which was closed. They opened the airport for us to land (in thick snow) where another ambulance collected us and drove us to Alder Hay. It was now midnight. The surgical team operated on him from 01:30 to 03:00. We were put up in Ronald McDonald house for two nights and were taken home by the same combination of Ambulance-Air Ambulance-Ambulance that Wednesday.

    We were never asked for insurance or payment. Ronald McDonald (a charity) asked us if we could pay for the cost of our room - we were more than happy to - but that was the only money we paid out over the whole thing. He's fine now, by the way.

    Could that happen to two ordinary people in the US without health insurance? I'd be really interested to know.

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