Sammy, I think you and a few people in the thread need some revision in basic literacy. Free, for example, can mean gratis, no charge, or it can mean without restriction. Now I live in Britain and I often see Americans babbling erroniously about the ‘free’ healthcare we, Canada, Australia and other European nations have. It is not free of course, doctors, nurses and ancillary staff have to be paid, hospitals have running costs, equipment, drugs and consumables have to be paid for. People say “Ah but the government pays for those things. Not true, in fact the tax payers pay for those things, the government simply distributes the money.
I can’t understand why anybody would suggest that working in such a system ‘enslaves’ the staff, nobody forces them to work in healthcare, and they are free to change jobs or to leave the industry at any time providing they serve the contracted notice period.
Where a lot of people become confused is in understanding that in such systems treatment is free at the point of delivery. People who turn up at a hospital or health centre for treatment know they are not going to be presented with a big fat bill because their private insurer decided they were not covered. People with serious problems can concentrate on recovery without any fear that ongoing treatment will bankrupt their family.
Such systems are open to abuse of course, this is one of the reasons socialised health care is in a mess financially almost everywhere. But in terms of providing care it does a good job.
Socialised healthcare is not a right however, over here we currently have a big scandal brewing about this; doctors and hospitals are complaining they are underfunded, but because the healthcare professions are dominated by left wing thinking ideology has been overruling rationality in dealing with the health tourists (some from the USA,) who come to Britain to get ‘free’ treatment from our wonderful National Health Service. Because hospital administrator idealistically decided “healthcare is a right” (or more realistically because they though it would strengthen their case for bigger budgets,) and did not bother to ask for proof of entitlement.
Estimates of how much health tourism costs the NHS vary widely from £20 million per year to £6billion per years. The most sensible figure, based on the criteria for what constitutes health tourism, seems to be around £200 million (which is the cost of running three large hospitals).
Left wing and liberal commentators say we poor taxpayers ought to be happy to shoulder this bill because “healthcare is a universal human right.”
Is it? How much debt do you think the NHS would quickly find itself in if, as these vitue signallers demand, we operate it as a global health service? And what civil unrest might ensue then British taxpayers are presented with the bill for treating the malnourished billions of the third world?
In a socialised health system, care can only be a right for those who are part of the system. Not everybody earns enough to pay income tax or National Insurance contributions but they are in the system and thus entitled. To extend that right to anybody who demands it is to ensure the collapse of the system.