Cal Thomas' recent editorial confuses "Obamacare" (the Affordable Care Act) with the National Health Service in Great Britain. They are not the same thing since the Affordable Care Act requires Americans to purchase private insurance, while the NHS is national health care, health care as a public good.
Thomas may be trying to scare us away from the idea of health care as a public good because while it is NOT what the Affordable Care Act is about, we do hope to have a publicly funded system in Vermont when we establish Green Mountain Care. However, even here, there are differences with the NHS. Under the NHS in Great Britain, physicians are actually public employees. But, under Green Mountain Care, while health care will be publicly financed, the delivery of health care will remain private - physicians will be reimbursed by the "single payer," but they will remain in private practice.
In any case, Thomas is spreading scare tactics about the NHS. Here are a few facts:
1.The NHS spends 8 percent of Great Britain's GDP on health Care. Vermont spends nearly 20 percent.
2.The UK is ranked by the World Health Organization as having the 18th best health care system in the world. The U.S. is ranked 37th.
3.The NHS is immensely popular in the UK even among Conservatives, so much so it is considered politically sacrosanct.
Let's face the real facts. We have had fifty years of the free-market approach. It has not brought us more competition and lower costs. It has brought increasing market consolidation, fewer people covered, more high-deductible plans, huge corporate profits, exorbitant executive salaries, overwhelming administrative burdens, and thousands of tragic denials of necessary care which result in sickness and deaths. Health manpower shortages are made worse because clinicians must spend so much time fighting for payment.
Every other industrialized nation in the world has some form of publicly financed health care for all. In the coming years as we move toward single payer in Vermont, we will hear many scare tactics about all these systems such as those put forth in Thomas' column. These scare tactics are meant to stop us from moving forward.
The truth is that no system is perfect, but the systems in all other industrialized countries that are based on some form of public financing get equal or better health outcomes than we do in this country, and they do so at significantly less cost. In Vermont we can pave the way to a more cost-effective system with access for all if we continue down the road to single payer.
If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.
Become A Subscriber
A subscription opens up access to all our online content, including: our interactive E-Edition, a full archive of modern stories, exclusive and expanded online offerings, photo galleries from Caledonian-Record journalists, video reports from our media partners, extensive international, national and regional reporting by the Associated Press, and a wide variety of feature content.
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.