The NHS in the U.S.- shouldn't Christians be supporting universal healthcare?

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So, U.S. right-wing Republicans (many of them god loving, including that nut job Sarah Palin)want to attack our National Heath Service? Well if you send one of our boys to the hospital I’ll be sending one of yours to the morgue! Here are my arguments against those who want to attack the NHS, but first a brief history:

The NHS was created in 1948 following World War 2 when health secretary (and my fellow countryman) Aneurin Bevan announced that hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists would be brought together under one organisation to meet the health needs of everyone in British society “from cradle to grave”. It was made clear that the health service wasn’t going to be free, but that every person who had the means to would make national insurance contributions. Over the years as science and medicine as developed so has the NHS to give the best treatment it can to patients regardless of their income or class. Different governments have had their effect on the way it is run (for example, Thatcher made it far more bureaucratic and top heavy) but even the most right-wing politician in Britain cannot argue against universal health care. In Wales we have a very similar system to the UK as a whole but we also benefit from free prescription drugs.

Now I have to admit that the system isn’t perfect all of the time (sometimes we have to wait for a treatment) but I can guarantee that the majority of the people who come into contact with the NHS receive a 1st class service and are cured of their illness. In recent years the patient also has far more choice about where they receive their healthcare.

Let me give you some examples of stories that have happened to my family and friends where the NHS has done a great job.
My mother had a hysterectomy a couple of years back, she went into hospital for a week after the operation (ate for free) and came out of it feeling well, her HRT drugs are provided for free. We didn’t have to worry that we couldn’t afford to pay for the surgery in a private hospital; it never even entered our minds to worry about money, but to just worry about my mother’s health.
My grandfather had a prolonged life after contracting cancer and although they were unable to cure the illness they were able to make his final days painless.
My other grandfather had a heart attack and died in his living room before being revived by an NHS paramedic. The NHS then helped him to live a healthier life and to give up smoking.
The most impressive of all my personal involvement with the NHS has to be a friend who rang me one morning to say that he had woken up and was losing his vision in his right eye. He rang his doctor who advised to go to the hospital. I drove my friend to the hospital where within a couple of hours he was advised that he had a detached retina and that it would have to be operated on the next day. Less than 24 hours later the operation was complete and his vision saved and after 6 months of excellent after care and an additional cataracts removal his vision has been fully restored.

In summary, I’d rather live in my country with a system that supports everyone, that is there when we need it. If I accidentally cut off my fingers I don’t want to be told how much it costs to stitch each one back on so that I can make a choice which finger to save based on what I can afford. I love the NHS and the United Kingdom would be worse off without it.

Now, let me put this argument in a way that you capitalists may be able to grasp - if people are healthy they can work, if they work they get money and if they have money they can be your customer! Not only that but if people are healthy they don’t spread their illnesses on to your employees or other customers.

And for those of you like Palin who like to put things in religious terms – If your family or friends are sick then you want to look after them and for them the best treatment. Well correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Jesus say “We are all one family”, and wasn’t he always going on about caring for the poor more than the rich. Now whilst I don’t take my morals from the teachings of a space god, you do, so why don’t you actually put some of this teaching into action.

Maybe America should have a different system from the NHS but it should have the basics. It should be financed by everyone, and those who earn more should make bigger contributions. Or are you rich guys too greedy, and so selfish that you prefer to see others suffer? The system must be universal so that everyone is covered and receive no preferential treatment.
You Americans have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the other countries and to make a system that is the envy of the world – so why not do it? So many of you say your country is great, well I don’t see much evidence of that at the moment, but here is your opportunity for greatness.

Watch these videos (here & here) of Tony Benn, taken from Michael Moore’s film Sicko, and watch the whole film if you can.
I am willing to answer any questions you may have on this topic, you can either message me on Twitter using @antireligion or e-mail me on .

Views: 36

Comment by Brian Colquhoun on August 16, 2009 at 4:32pm
The thing most amusing about this is that the US has such a terrible poor health service when compared to the UK. Look at France - it has socialised medicine too, and isn't it pretty much the best in the world.

The thing we have to be careful about is when we criticise the NHS. Many Americans think this criticism means the NHS is a poor service. It's actually fairly decent. However, we must keep criticising it, and the reason for that is simple: the areas which we criticise can be worked upon and improved. If we never complain it will be assumed that the system is perfect, which it's not. It can always be improved in some way, whether that's cutting down waiting times, striving to get the best technology for diagnosis or treatment, or even making doctors available more often for minor problems.

I would hope that the intelligent Americans would see the benefit of caring for others, and not just themselves. Maybe sometime soon the only country in the developed world without socialised healthcare will join us in the 21st century, medically.
Comment by Morgan Matthew on August 16, 2009 at 4:40pm

Comment by Renee long on August 16, 2009 at 4:47pm
I am an American who lived in the UK for 3 years and has only recently moved to Spain. NHS is a great service. Although I have not required serious healthcare treatment, my husband has and the NHS saved him when his appendix burst.. And bc he had private healthcare and he stayed in the NHS hospital they actually paid HIM 100 quid a night (roughly (at the time) = $200) for every day he had to stay overnight!

I've frequently asked christians how they could NOT be in favour of the healthcare reforms. SURELY, if they are as christian as they say... they would care for humanity and what to help those who are less fortunate gain access to affordable healthcare (if not, free!) How could they possibly argue? Are they not deeply selfish? I would be happy for my taxes to go up slightly if it meant that millions of those less fortunate are able to gain lifesaving care. The republicans slanderizing AND scaremongering (*cough, FOX NEWS*) are pathetic people! And anyone dumb enough to believe it.. are very uneducated. But if you're talking about fox news thats pretty much their entire audience.

Americans can criticise the NHS all they want but I would choose it any day over the US system - which btw when I lived there I was one of the 46 million uninsured people. Surely it is MORALLY wrong that millions have NO access whatsoever to healthcare.
Comment by Reggie on August 16, 2009 at 5:09pm
Great post and echoes my sentiment. Especially the part about learning from other countries and making a system that is the "envy of the world". However, it looks like we will have a neutered and ineffectual system put in place in the name of compromise.


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