An American’s perspective on using Britain’s “Socialised medicine”

I saw this article come across my news feed the other day, and being a Brit living in America, it piqued my interest especially given my love of the NHS (that’s the National Health Service to you non-Brits).

It’s written by an American who lives in the UK and it explains his own experience of both healthcare systems.

I think you’d be hard-pushed to find an American who doesn’t believe the healthcare system is broken (though they may have quite different opinions on how it should be fixed).

On the contrary, the NHS is much-loved in the UK and is far from the third-world car-crash that many Americans perceive it to be.

In his article, Jim goes on to explain that having used both systems, he unquestionably favours the NHS. While it has its quirks and imperfections (as all systems do), it is the clear winner when compared to the American healthcare debacle.

And furthermore, not only is it a better system, but the quality of care is also much better. The Commonwealth Fund (an American non-profit organisation) published a study indicating that while the US far outspends any other nation on healthcare, is still overwhelmingly underperforms when compared to its counterparts.

The main exhibit in that study (below) is a good summary of the situation at large. While the US spends about 2.5 times as much per person on healthcare, it didn’t beat the UK in any category. Whereas the UK was 1st in almost every category, the best the US could muster was generally middle of the road all the way down to last place.

Exhibit ES-1

It frustrates me when people, usually Americans, go around lambasting British “socialised medicine”* with their perceptions of what the NHS is like. Take it from people who have used both systems and from those who have studied healthcare systems across the world that the NHS really does work and by many accounts is far better than private American healthcare.

This isn’t to say that the NHS is perfect or that the American system is awful – just that there’s more than one way to skin a cat and sometimes your way isn’t the best.

* Stop using the phrase “socialised medicine“. It’s merely a political football. “Universal healthcare access” is much more appropriate.

By Dave

Dave is the proud father of Ellie and Jack. There's nothing that makes him happier than spending time with his incredible wife and their amazing children. He's a civil/mechanical engineer and he also builds and maintains WordPress websites.

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