Friday, 21 August 2009

Health Care

The USA is going through a time of interesting changes as President Barack Obama tries to improve the USA health care system (something Hilary Clinton, in her role as First Lady of the United States, tried to do before with her Clinton health plan which sadly failed to get through the US Congress). There is much at stake for the average American citizen as the USA has a totally insurance based health care system. You either can or can not afford it! And if you can not them there’s no dentistry, no glasses, no hearing aids and no medication. Of course there are many groups, including many faith based organisations, who try to provide free clinics and services to those who either can not afford health insurance or their insurance is not effective enough to cover certain health costs.

For a brief look at the differences between the UK and the USA see this link. The USA is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. So we in the UK who like to follow the American way in most things, if not everything, should be thankful that the National Health Service Act, which was passed on the 5 July 1948, was dedicated to universal health care access for all.

The credit for this remarkable piece of legislation goes to Aneurin (Nye) Bevan, member of Clement Attlee’s Labour Cabinet. Mind you he did say he had to ‘stuff their mouths with gold’, referring to the medical professions stance against the proposals – similar misgivings and personal interest abound regarding the health care changes proposed in the USA – before the proposals were finally accepted by the medical profession; but only after Bevan had conceded and compromised on a number of points to appease them.

Let us hope that the health care reform comes about so that all people and not just the wealthy, the rich and the elite, can afford and have access to health care services in the USA. Hope it seems, is all we have got.

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