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October 09, 2018

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Scratch

"Whenever free marketeers propose reforming the NHS, they immediately invoke images of dystopian American healthcare rather than, say, the Swiss or German systems.

Our ignorance of Europe takes countless very sensible questions off the agenda such as: why is the Finnish education system so good? What can Norway’s experience tell us about the case for a sovereign wealth fund? Why do the Netherlands and Germany have such low youth unemployment?"

These can be attributed to the profound untrustworthiness of our uniquely feral bourgeoisie. A cohort to which one should provide neither opportunity nor excuse.

I think this is why fascism is fundamentally unthinkable here.

Dipper

Venezuela. Jeremy and his mates went on and on about it. That's why the right now go on and on about it. Show me the clip, the article, where Jeremy disc uses Scandinavian style economies and say's he'd like to do that here. Show me the photo of Jeremy with his arm round the shoulder of Scandinavian social democratic leaders.

USA. The left go on and on about how anything that isn't Corbyn or EU must be full blown US-style capitalism. Lots of others like the IEA talk about he mixed models of Northern Europe.

The EU. Tell me about the way that the EU has conquered youth unemployment, about how it has provided a model for countries like Greece and Italy to overcome their debt burden.

Jim

You might well also ask the Left why it is that when it comes to healthcare there are only two options to follow - the UK's 'envy of the world' NHS or a fictitious US healthcare system where everyone has to have insurance and people have to swipe their credit card as they are wheeled into the operating theatre, or die in a ditch. Completely ignoring the fact that healthcare spending is the largest single item in the US Federal governments budget, and that not one other healthcare system in the world chooses to copy the UK's State monolith example.......

From Arse To Elbow

I don't think the problem is that the UK is monoglot - the Spanish aren't much better, for example - so much as that the use of English biases it towards a greater interest in the US than the rest of the EU. Jim's comment above is a good illustration of this.

The NHS is actually a standard type of healthcare system in that it is funded by public insurance. Where it differs from France or Germany is largely a matter of organisation, notably the historic reliance on direct state control.

Few countries seek to emulate the UK because they started from a different place in the early 20th century, e.g. where insurance was managed by social organisations or unions and hospitals built by private firms. The NHS evolved out of the interwar system of limited national insurance and council infirmaries that often started life as poorhouses. 1948 was nationalisation of a system that was already quasi-public.

The US is unusual because it maintains both public and private healthcare systems in parallel, which is why its cost as a % of GDP is double that of the UK. Basically it over-provides but is so inefficient (or exploitative, if you prefer) that the poor and chronic get a bum deal.

The NHS is not that different to other EU healthcare systems, and a lot of its "reform" has been aimed at making it more European, not just opening it up to privatisation. The US, on the other hand, is an outlier. No other country is so wasteful or so inconsistent.

Jim

"The NHS is not that different to other EU healthcare systems"

Apart from being sh*t. And I speak as someone who has watched his father be chewed up and spat out by the 'caring' NHS over the last 2 and a half years.

The NHS is run by the workforce for the benefit of the workforce. The patient comes a long way second, because the patient gets what the NHS deigns to give him or her. He or she has no rights to treatment whatsoever, its purely down to what some manager decides you're going to get, and lump it.

Dimpase

NHS in its "quality" is approaching the healthcare in USSR, where I grew up... It is the worst of many healthcare systems I saw and experienced myself, as I lived in Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Singapore (and now in UK).

Alex

"Whenever free marketeers propose reforming the NHS, they immediately invoke images of dystopian American healthcare rather than, say, the Swiss or German systems"

You've let the cat out of the bag in the very same sentence. If anyone actually proposed such a thing, it might be a good point, but "free marketeers" invariably propose something dystopian and American, and as a matter of personal physical safety it is necessary to get it off the table as quickly as possible.

Blissex

«but "free marketeers" invariably propose something dystopian and American»

And that's not an invention that "Alex" on the internet made up, but what M Thatcher's own Minister of Health said:

www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/19/kenneth-clarke-views-no-10
«His first challenge at health was heading off Thatcher, who "wanted to go to the American system", he reveals. "I had ferocious rows with her about it. She wanted compulsory insurance, with the state paying the premiums for the less well-off. I thought that was a disaster. The American system is hopeless … dreadful." He prevailed on her to take a different route by introducing more competition into the NHS. It became known – in a phrase he didn't like – as "the internal market". Ever since then, successive governments have pushed in broadly the same direction.»

Try to imagine: creeping privatisation was the lesser compared to something “hopeless … dreadful”.

MJW

I agree with the last couple of comments, those 'think tanks' and lobbyists proposing 'free-market' solutions to the NHS often cite European models as inspiration, but closer inspection tends to reveal the door they actually want to open is more likely the one to US style rent-seeking.

TowerBridge

I think we can conclude that whilst you have a point Chris, healthcare is a bad example because we all know too well that the aim, as Blissex states, is not to become more continental European there.

FATE:
I don't think the problem is that the UK is monoglot - the Spanish aren't much better, for example - so much as that the use of English biases it towards a greater interest in the US than the rest of the EU.

I can't agree with you there, but I don't have much direct experience of the Spanish. The Germans, Austrians, Italians and French have always struck me as knowing more about what is going on in the UK than we know what is going on in their countries so I don't think it's a language issue and am more inclined to believe the blogger's argument.

Jim

"She wanted compulsory insurance, with the state paying the premiums for the less well-off"

How terrible, we'd have a system rather like the Germans......

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