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Privatizing the British Healthcare System Would Be A Disaster — Just Look At America!

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Britons marching in support of the National Health Service (Alan Stanton/Flickr)

A common trope in sci-fi films is the part when the hero of the movie receives a message from the future warning him of an impending cataclysmic event. He’s usually instructed to do his darndest to stop the event from happening. Well, consider this a message from the future.

British conservatives such as Nigel Farage, the former leader of the xenophobic UK Independence Party, are trying to move the British National Health Service (NHS,) which covers everyone, to a privatized system.

“Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the market place of an insurance company than just us trustingly giving £100bn a year to central government and expecting them to organise the healthcare service from cradle to grave for us,” said in a speech.

This is not a surprise to me. My sister is a nurse who works for the National Health Service, and she’s seen signs of privatization creeping into the system.

Well, Britons, take it from me, this move would be a disaster. Whatever you do, do not let your healthcare system become privatized. The is a nightmare. I’ve lived in this country for more than 20 years and I’ve witnessed the horrors of privatized healthcare. Trust me, it’s not someplace you want to go. This is your message from the future, don’t let this happen. This can also be proven statistically. In 2018, ranked countries in terms of healthcare efficiency. Britain ranked at no. 35, while America ranked below it at no. 54! Why would you want to copy us?

If you let the conservatives privatize the healthcare system your going to see health insurance CEOs with massive salaries, healthcare rationing as companies deny service so they can maximize their profits, frustrated medical personnel as they watch patients unable to get healthcare, and patients opting not to pay for healthcare insurance, because they simply can’t afford it. I know because that’s what happens over here!

Whatever you do, do not let your healthcare system become privatized. The American privatized healthcare system is a nightmare. I’ve lived in this country for more than 20 years and I’ve witnessed the horrors of private healthcare. Trust me, it’s not someplace you want to go. This is your message from the future, don’t let this happen.

After talking to my sister, I wondered why the Brits would even consider moving towards privatization. While the NHS, might have a few problems with rising costs and wait times, the British system is way more efficient than what we have in America.

American leftists have been pushing for a universal healthcare system and often point to the British and Canadian systems as successes. American doctors who have been to Britain and used their system have bragged at its efficiency. When documentarian Michael Moore released “SiCKO,” a movie bashing the American healthcare system, he shot several scenes in England. By the way, the American private insurance industry was so terrified by Moore’s movie, they launched an to counter “SiCKO’s” message. Private insurers were terrified the American public would wake up to the fact that universal healthcare actually worked.

I often tell Americans that the British healthcare system is much more efficient than what we have over here. The problem in America is most of the public has been brainwashed into thinking that universal healthcare is “communist/socialist” and satanic. Too many Americans still buy into that Cold War-era thinking.

But that’s slowly changing. The failures of capitalism — massive student debt, staggering income inequality, and skyrocketing homelessness — have led many young Americans to become more open to socialism or socialist policies. According to a , 55 percent of Americans aged 18–29 had a positive view of socialism.

Interestingly enough, many Americans don’t seem to realize that the Veterans Administration and Medicare are also socialistic programs. However, the Trump administration is currently trying to privatize aspects of the VA. I guarantee it's going to be a disaster. And when wounded soldiers realize they receive health care from a private company that’s more interested in making money than treating them, they’ll start complaining too.

I’m not sure why British conservatives are trying to privatize the NHS. I’m sure they’re trying to sell Britons on how the NHS is too costly and privatization is more efficient. Don’t buy that. Private healthcare has its own arcane bureaucracy. You still have wait times as the insurance company tries to route you to the doctors in their network or approve your treatment. (Bear in mind, that if they deny you healthcare, it puts money in their pocket. So they have a financial stake in denying you service. ) Americans often die waiting for service and sometimes have to hire lawyers or appeal to the government to speed up the process.

What I suspect is going on is the politicians lobbying for privatization have financial ties to health insurance companies. ( trying to privatize the VA system are Trump cronies from his Florida golf club.) The private insurers are also drooling at all the business they’re going to get from privatization. And they usually find a way to reward politicians who wrote the laws that gave them all that new business. Over here politicians get campaign donations from healthcare companies, that’s why they don’t support a universal system. They don’t want to bite the hands that feed them. s, health insurance companies donated more than $21 billion to both parties in 2018.

It’s not about efficiency, it’s about making money. A private health insurance company’s first goal is to return a profit to its shareholders, not provide healthcare to its customers. Britons need to remember that when their conservatives try to sell them on the benefits of privatization.

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

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