Daniel Hannan is a national disgrace


4:16 pm - August 13th 2009

by Jamie Sport    


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Only the most cold-hearted of cynics could expess disdain for the many extraordinary achievments made in Britain throughout history. Those who have struggled for freedom and justice have shaped a country safe and civilised, without fear of oppression, tyranny, death or disease in which nearly everyone is represented and enfranchised.

The human right to good health and protection from, and provision for, injury and sickness, are all enshrined in the National Health Service. It is an entity admired the world over, and one that many now could not imagine living without.


(image by Beau Bo D’Or)

So to see a British politician roaming the USA, frequenting the most biased, unreasonable and willfully ignorant news outlets in existence, spouting misinformed drivel to screeching hate puffed lummoxes like Glenn Beck about the imaginary horrors of ‘socialized’ health care is almost obscene.

Watching Daniel Hannan speaking as a supposed representative for Britain on Fox News, bleating about how our country has been rendered feral and crippled by the NHS is enough to raise a sudden, unexpected swell of patriotism normally reserved for the success of a British icon on the global stage or spectacular sporting defeats.

Unfortunately, his eloquence  alone is enough to elevate Hannan to the position of grand visiting statesman in the miopic yellowed eyes of Fox and friends. That he only speaks half-truths, lies, and distortions, while grossly misrepresenting 99% of the population of Britain is not enough to stop the increasingly rabid American right-wing to beg him to ‘run for congress!’ or ‘run for Prime Minister!’ or ‘for God’s sake, run for something!’

Plenty of others have dissected Hannan’s arguments, showing them up as nothing more than empty, pompous, unfounded criticisms. Even those who have savaged the NHS in the past for bloatedness or bureaucracy have sprung to its defense, recognising that Britain would be far worse off without it and that accusations of ‘evil and Orwellian’ practices are simply too ridiculous to bear.

As Stephen Fry quite rightly said, “Even the most right wing British politician wouldn’t think of dismantling our health service.”

We are fortunate enough to enjoy a system of healthcare large and noble enough to bring good health to an entire population. These aspects of nationality, while not exclusive to Britain, are enough to make anyone proud of being British, however rarely you feel the pangs of national loyalty, however little you identify with Union Jack brandishing patriots.

It is one of the largest, most respected, and most valued of British institutions that, doubtless counts towards many people’s choice to live here rather than skip off to somewhere else where the sun actually shines once in a while. That it does all it does for free (or, at least, for very little) is nothing short of incredible.

Many have sent the resounding message that, actually, despite what Hannan says, we love the NHS, thank you very much.

Let’s make this clear. Daniel Hannan doesn’t speak for us. He does not represent the views and opinions of his own party, let alone the vast majority of British people. He is a publicity seeking, vacuous egotist eager only for another million YouTube hits and the friendship of American right-wing TV presenters. Hannan is the epitome of the soundbite culture of politics so derided by his own boss, David Cameron.

He is wilfully playing into the hands of the misinformed American right who, let’s remember, are actually, seriously, opposing the provision of healthcare to society’s most vulnerable.

As David Cameron reprimands Alan Duncan for speaking out of turn about MPs’ expenses, why has he failed to rein Hannan in for embarrassing the Conservatives, angering the British public and misleading US voters?

But a British politician trailblazing across the USA painting Britain as some third-world nation riddled with disease and ‘death panels’? That’s enough to make anyone feel a pang of bruised British pride.

To paraphrase a million screamsheet readers: If Hannan loves American private healthcare so much, why doesn’t he go live there?

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About the author
Jamie is a blogger. He spends an unhealthy amount of time reading newspapers he doesn't agree with and runs the satirical Daily Quail blog.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Health ,United States

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Reader comments


I wonder when Stephen Fry last saw the inside of an NHS facility?

Is it *just possible* that the rest of the world has not copied the NHS because it is not the best system in the world?

(Why Hannan has chosen to appear on US TV is another matter…)

2. Shatterface

There are some mistakes there’s no coming back from. Hannan might as well have stuffed a gerbil up his arse live on TV.

“It is an entity admired the world over, and one that many now could not imagine living without.”

Yet no one wants to copy it. Not even the American Democrats. Why?

4. Political_Animal

“Yet no one wants to copy it. Not even the American Democrats. Why?”

Could it be anything to do with the fact that the political consensus in this country is to the left of that in the US? Could it be that it is easy to say Democrats=Labour and Republicans=Tories, yet it is hard to quantify in actual policy how they stack up together?

Certainly, no-one would want to copy the US system. The NHS isn’t perfect but it is far better than the US system. Even the WHO recognised this as a fact, ranking the UK at 18th and the US at 37th in the World.

The WHO’s methodology for analysing health systems is pretty pathetic, reflecting its institutionally collectivist bias: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/08/why_the_us_ranks_low_on_whos_h.html

Hardly surprising considering it is part of the United Nations.

This is just one thing in a long line of embarrassing things Hannan has done; ask Brit expats in Spain to vote for a kind of glorified Francoist cell; provide an apology for a possibly anti-semitic Polish MEP moments before he became a Lisbon Treaty enthusiast (which must have hurt Hannan); constantly refer to the BNP as far left because of some sort of disavowal of BNP’s ultraconservative parallels (lets not get into it now, see here). He is loud though, one cannot fault him that.

Well put.

“Hardly surprising considering it is part of the United Nations”

Yes, it’s all a communist plot… (rolls eyes)

Nick, democrats who oppose nhs receive most donations from health insurance, financial securities, etc. Does that answer your question ‘why’? Right-wingers are pocketing 20% of American GDP from the current health scam and running scared of losing it hence their hysterical lies. A lot of trillions, it funds a lot of lying propaganda to stop ‘socialised health’.

I wonder when Stephen Fry last saw the inside of an NHS facility?

Do you want to ask Stephen Hawkings that question?

Yet no one wants to copy it. Not even the American Democrats. Why?

Have you even noticed how crazy Republicans are over there? They’re talking “death panels” as soon as you try extending Medicare, I’m not surprised that it’s difficult for them to go as far the UK.

11. sevillista

Nick,

The WHO’s methodology for analysing health systems is pretty pathetic, reflecting its institutionally collectivist bias:

Yes – the WHO should just accept that the only people important are the rich and businesses – if they’ve got great healthcare and make large profits, the system must be fantastic.

Sod the 40 million with no coverage who rely on charity in tented villages, sod the low life expectancy, sod the high infant mortality rates, sod the fact you lose your healthcare when you lose your job, sod the fact this all comes at twice the price of systems with better outcomes due to the stunningly inefficient administration of the system.

No. The rich and the insurance companies do very well thank you very much. That’s what’s important, surely?

“Hands up who has Medicaid?”

To wit almost all hands get raised.

“Don’t you touch my Medicaid”

From an email.

The Democrats are – at a real stretch – red-Tories. Those who are opposing health insurance reform are those pocketing millions in donations.

And I do have a sneaking suspicion that Obama would ultimately like a single-payer system, but I could be wrong.

Daniel Hannan is a national disgrace

Daniel Hannan should seek US citizenry. And he is a twat!

13 – You are treating my comment in bad faith.

Is it better that everyone get poor or no healthcare, or that everyone gets some and some get even better? Do you care about equality enough that it is worth harming everyone to bring it about?

11 – I wasn’t referring to senate democrats, I was referring to the policy wonks surrounding Obama. I have seen very few people flinging around the NHS as an example to follow.

@ cjcjc:

“I wonder when Stephen Fry last saw the inside of an NHS facility?”

What, so if someone with private healthcare is in favour of universal coverage we ought not to think them credible, but when someone with private healthcare wants to privatise the NHS, or opposes the extension of coverage to the poor and uninsured, like Hannan and his Faux News mates, they deserve to be listened to?!

And I do have a sneaking suspicion that Obama would ultimately like a single-payer system, but I could be wrong.

Well, he certainly used to back in 2003:

I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.

17. sevillista

Nick

<Is it better that everyone get poor or no healthcare, or that everyone gets some and some get even better? Do you care about equality enough that it is worth harming everyone to bring it about?

Do you care about the taxation of the rich and the profits of health insurance companies enough to consider denying basic health care to the poorest 25%, “achieving” sub-third world health outcomes in the richest nation in the world and paying twice as much to achieve those diabolical health outcomes a price well worth paying?

There are two worlds. In one, people have a choice between private healthcare if they can afford it or going without if they can’t. In the second, people have a choice between private healthcare if they can afford it or public healthcare if they can’t. You would choose the first world would you?

I agree with the article entirely. Just one small point from the comments, “Sod the 40 million with no coverage who rely on charity in tented villages.”

This refers to the 47 million Americans estimated to not have health insurance. However, it makes no mention of the millions who choose to do without, such as the young who have a low chance of major health failures, the rich who don’t need insurance, etc. Obviously, I am not trying to justify the fact that perhaps 10 or 15 million Americans need health insurance and can’t afford it. However, it’s irritating to see commenters using misleading statistics to attack the misleading use of statistics by others.

Tim J –

Well, he certainly used to back in 2003:

Indeed he did, but I should learn how to be more sardonic with the written word.

And to clue that – sardonic to Hannan rather than Obama.

20. Richard (the original)

“Could it be anything to do with the fact that the political consensus in this country is to the left of that in the US?”

The politics consensus in Europe is to the Left of the UK in many respects yet they haven’t copied our system.

Personally I can’t understand all the anger over this issue. So Hannan goes on US TV and says, surprise surprise, he’s not a fan of socialised healthcare. What did you expect him to do, call for the nationalisation of industry?

“There are two worlds. In one, people have a choice between private healthcare if they can afford it or going without if they can’t. In the second, people have a choice between private healthcare if they can afford it or public healthcare if they can’t. You would choose the first world would you?”

No, I’d give people a top up payment to go and buy private healthcare for themselves. Like in the Netherlands.

I don’t care at all about profits by insurers or healthcare providers. I just think that freedom and free enterprise is the best way to deliver improving health care.

This is a very silly conversation. Hannan criticises the NHS, and we’re told that this is the ultimate faux pas. Yet the best those in favour of the NHS can come up with is that we’re 18th best in the world and this is higher than the USA (using a scoring system that awards points for “being publicly funded” IIRC). This hardly suggests that the NHS is beyond criticism even if you accept “being publicly funded” as a valid way of comparing the quality of the service delivered.

Then we hear that Hannan should push off and live in the states if he likes it so much, but I seem to remember that Hannan is not in favour of US-style healthcare – he wants a Singapore-style system.

Like I said, a lot of heat but not much light.

Like I said, a lot of heat but not much light.

Given Hannan has been fact-checked loads of times, there’s no point accusing us of not shedding light on the issue. Hannan comes up with “facts” that don’t exactly match with reality and on that basis starts advocating solutions. Why should anyone take him seriously?

And that too when he goes on to discuss healthcare on the Glenn Beck show! That guy makes Richard Littlejohn sound like a bleeding heart lefty.

Sad to say, I don’t think I will see healthcare reform in my lifetime. It also seems odd to me that the people who are protesting the public option the strongest are those who wouldn’t need it any way. Says a lot about our right wing mentality.

p.s. Please, please, please don’t send Hannan here to live, we already have enough kooks. TKs

“The politics consensus in Europe is to the Left of the UK in many respects yet they haven’t copied our system.”

Oh, so doing things exactly as the rest of Europe does them is the panacea now?

Yet the best those in favour of the NHS can come up with is that we’re 18th best in the world and this is higher than the USA (using a scoring system that awards points for “being publicly funded” IIRC).

I’d also add that it’s the cheapest of any developed country, and that this is a Jolly Good Thing. We waste less money on healthcare than anyone else who has any money to spend, leaving more to spend on things that we actually want.

Why does everything have to be so all or nothing with you guys? No other Left in the world is so obsessed with NEVER EVER paying anything at all for healthcare. They just care about whether people actually get it. It so happens parts of Europe do better than the US, and the UK in health care. It doesn’t mean we have to copy everything else about them (although I wouldn’t make a bit of Denmark’s flexible labour markets, myself).

“Why does everything have to be so all or nothing with you guys?”

Us guys? Have you actually watched any of these Hannan/Beck videos? It’s “European Leftism === HITLER!” all the way.

And you respond in kind. But some of us here are trying to move the debate a bit more onto policy and don;t favour these TV-style faux debates about personality.

30. sevillista

@kentron

However, it makes no mention of the millions who choose to do without, such as the young who have a low chance of major health failures, the rich who don’t need insurance, etc.

If there were no market failures in the health insurance market, everyone would choose to insure voluntarily. Potential health costs can run into hundreds of thousand of pounds. Given fair insurance, people would take it up regardless of how rich they are or whether they consider themselves unlikely to have health care, as everyone is risk averse when it comes to potential huge losses like these. However, there are many failures in the US system – unaffordable insurance premiums, high admin costs, actuarially unfair premia and poorly informed consumers for example.

So the 40 million figure is a valid measure of the extent to which the US system is failing, is it not?

Sunny

With respect, that’s a whole lot more heat. I have no idea if Hannan has previously said something that turned out to be wrong. Quite probably he did. So what? I’m sure you are fallible too. I certainly am.

He has a good point. The NHS is a bad idea. Nobody has copied it. There are not many countries going down the US route either. That’s fine. Why not talk about the alternatives? Singapore, for example.

With respect, that’s a whole lot more heat. I have no idea if Hannan has previously said something that turned out to be wrong. Quite probably he did. So what? I’m sure you are fallible too. I certainly am.

Eh? You say you wanted light rather than heat. I point out that Hannan has been fact-checked quite a few times and found wanting. So you excuse it by saying ‘well, we’re all fallible’. That’s great but if you’re going to articulate a position and go all over the media pushing it then that’s not good enough excuse. Why talk of alternatives when the people who want to do away with the NHS as it is now aren’t being fully honest?

Really, I have to ask, what’s with all this “If it’s so good, why does no one copy it” crap. It all depends about how fussy you want to get about the details, no healthcare system is structured exactly like the NHS, but there are definitely similarities.

“And you respond in kind.”

I’ll include [sarcasm] [/sarcasm] tags in future.

@32: Err, no. For many fit, healthy people at age 20, paying health insurance for 10 years doesn’t make sense. The cost is definite whereas having any major problems is not, even before we get to the degree to which people discount future benefits. Similarly, if you have a bank balance of seven figures or more, health insurance doesn’t make sense. If Bill Gates chooses not to have health insurance, I wouldn’t call that a “failure of the health insurance market”, nor would I say he would “rely on charity in tented villages”.

Certainly, it would be easier to calculate if we simply assume everybody to have the same attitude to risk, but that’s not the case.

36. sevillista

No, I’d give people a top up payment to go and buy private healthcare for themselves. Like in the Netherlands.

I don’t care at all about profits by insurers or healthcare providers. I just think that freedom and free enterprise is the best way to deliver improving health care.

But the choice being debated in the US is between the first world and the second world I stated isn’t it?

I’m not familiar with the Netherlands healthcare system so not sure about that. Is it like the “choice voucher” (i.e. a subsidy to those who would choose to go private anyway, giving a big deadweight cost and sucking money out of the public system)?

And what’s your evidence that “freedom and free enterprise is the best way to deliver improving health care”? What I’ve seen from studying health economics at undergrad level suggests the opposite.

* There are high admin costs (in many ways the monopsony power of the NHS is desirable and makes health care significantly cheaper by providing a counter-balance to the market power of oligopolistic pharmaceutical companies).
* There is strong potential for supplier-induced demand in an unrationed system
* Cream-skimming (refusing to insure those with high health costs e.g. the disabled, the already ill and passing off expensive treatments to the public sector as BUPA does)
* Strong incentives to wheedle out of contracts (profit motive to use ‘small print’ to mislead people and to challenge all expensive claims in the hope people will give up or die before the claim has to be paid)

That’s not to say the private sector has no role in healthcare (indeed it already plays a big role in the NHS) but it needs to be very carefully controlled to avoid the undesirable impacts that it can have. Maybe the Netherlands does this, but I’m not really sure about what the system is so can’t really comment

37. sevillista

@kentron

For many fit, healthy people at age 20, paying health insurance for 10 years doesn’t make sense. The cost is definite whereas having any major problems is not, even before we get to the degree to which people discount future benefits

But they still run the risk of having high health costs e.g. if they contract breast cancer in their 20s, if they are involved in a serious RTA etc.

Are you suggesting that it is better they don’t have insurance and would prefer to pay the one-off cost, even if fair insurance was offered?

Or is – as I’m saying – the reason for not getting insured that a) the cost of premiums to cover the small risk too high; and b) the premiums that are offered far from being fair insurance. In which case Government intervention can benefit through resolving insurance market failures.

Similarly, if you have a bank balance of seven figures or more, health insurance doesn’t make sense

Are you suggesting rich people don’t purchase any insurance (e.g. house, car, life etc) – after all, they don’t care about any large costs as they are rich.

You would be very wrong.

Are you suggesting that it is better they don’t have insurance and would prefer to pay the one-off cost, even if fair insurance was offered?

Some would, some wouldn’t. Your world requires more than simply having a perfect insurance market, it requires perfect personal valuation of future/risk rewards. If you were correct, no-one (or at least very, very few people) would smoke, as the small pleasure can’t possibly overcome the massively increased chance of a serious illness. Unfortunately, people do not perform a perfect cost/benefit analysis. Even if the government got involved, some would still choose to go uninsured.

“Are you suggesting rich people don’t purchase any insurance (e.g. house, car, life etc) – after all, they don’t care about any large costs as they are rich.”

Again, some do, some don’t. It’s strange that you say I’m “very wrong”, as I personally know a few Americans in the bracket I’m describing. The point is, for 47 million to be a misleading figure, I only have to prove that *some* of the people in that bracket can’t be considered victims of market failure. For it to be accurate, you have to prove that *all* are, which requires a far higher standard of proof. Good luck with that 🙂

39. Charlieman

Western popular stars (European soccer players, hollywood actors etc) frequently compromise their credibility by appearing in cheesy commercial adverts in the far east. Their agents no doubt suggested that they will escape examination and opprobrium, thanks to language differences and lack of exposure. Most of the time, those stars get away with it, apart from brief humiliation on late night comedy and chat shows.

Daniel Hannan appears to be playing the same game, but on English language news programmes. I swallowed deeply and followed the link provided by Jamie Sport to a Fox News video. I was appalled and, at the same time, deliriously happy. If you are arguing in favour of the NHS and against the Conservatives, you couldn’t ask for better quotes or footage. And if I was a Tory opponent of his, wishing to ingratiate myself with moderate Conservatives, I’d point them to that video.

I despise David Cameron and, like Jeff Randall at the Telegraph, I wouldn’t trust him with my daughter’s pocket money. But I do believe that he was sincere when applauding the NHS for the care of his late son, Ivan. USA campaigners for health reform need to use the UK Conservative Party’s (often, dishonest) support for the NHS to demonstrate that an imperfect service in need of reform is still loved by those who use it.

40. Charlieman

“Are you suggesting rich people don’t purchase any insurance (e.g. house, car, life etc) – after all, they don’t care about any large costs as they are rich.”

From what I recall, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and a rich man, is nominally on the pay roll there. So that he gets the health insurance.

Is it not time we looked at the healthcare offered in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria , Germany , Singapore, Australia, Canada and Scandinavia ? This continued comparison between the UK and USA healthcare systems does not improve what we have here. However, I think the NHS can be improved, certainly when I here of what is offered in Austria.

“But the choice being debated in the US is between the first world and the second world I stated isn’t it?”

Not really. I am sure that is the intention of the Democrats but it is far from clear their reform will achieve that. Also, the number of people suffering under the current system is often conflated with the number of people who choose not to have insurance, which is not the same thing. Some people prefer to pay for healthcare without an intermediary.

On the evidence, healthcare is not my own area of expertise but my views are informed by comparative research of this kind: http://www.iea.org.uk/record.jsp?type=economicAffairs&ID=338

Sadly, Labour have now decided to mount an official takeover of the welovethenhs campaign. As far as I can tell, that is the most stupid move they could have made at this point, if the aim is (as it ought to be) to keep up the pressure on the Tories. By associating themselves too heavily with it, Labour is only going to succeed in (a) turning off most of the people who were favourably disposed towards the campaign, and (b) transform what was originally a Tory vs. rest of the country issue into a Tory vs Labour issue. What a way to let Hannan and co. off the hook.

“Some would, some wouldn’t. Your world requires more than simply having a perfect insurance market, it requires perfect personal valuation of future/risk rewards. If you were correct, no-one (or at least very, very few people) would smoke, as the small pleasure can’t possibly overcome the massively increased chance of a serious illness.”

There you are just letting your bias creep in. People who smoke might just have a shorter time preference, and might get more pleasure from smoking than you imagine (it certainly gives me a nice brief hit on the occasion I take a puff).

I think most people would make sensible decisions if given the choice. But failing that, there are other market-based options like compulsory health savings accounts, in the same way we say that, perhaps on balance, compulsory car insurance is worth while.

I’d forgive Hannan for an alwful lot because of his brilliant and devestating demolition job on Gordon Brown, to his face, in the EU Parliament. Whatever mistakes Hannan may have made, they are nothing compared to the catastrophy Gordon Brown has been for the UK – our economy, the prospects for our young people and for social cohesion.

Hannan deserves a ticking off….. Gordon Brown should be executed.

Oh great, the debate from the other ‘Hannan is a fucking cock thread’ has transferred over here in all it’s glory with Nick seemingly defending something he doesn’t believe in…again with the same old terrible arguments…again ie: WHO is bad and if NHS is so good why don’t other people copy it?

Is that really the best you’ve got?

And what’s all this about Obama’s healthcare plan harming people (comment 15)? And glad you mention in Comment 16 about the NHS being nothing like the Obama plan, then why get twat face on a TV show to besmirch the NHS? Because the right in the US are thick? Indeed.

I’ve already outlined what the Obama plan is and what about if I outline why it is needed?

1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill.

2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage.

3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care.

4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities.

5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse.

6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone.

7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people – one in every three Americans under the age of 65 – were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families.

8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance – projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform.

Shout out to Axelrod for that shiz!

47. sevillista

@kentron

Some would, some wouldn’t. Your world requires more than simply having a perfect insurance market, it requires perfect personal valuation of future/risk rewards. If you were correct, no-one (or at least very, very few people) would smoke

The fact there are other failures with a voluntary private insurance market than unaffordable insurance premiums and uncompetitive insurance markets doesn’t strike me as a good reason to leave things as they are and accept the problems. Particularly as other countries have far cheaper health care systems that produce better outcomes showing what is possible if the US musters the political will to fight off the health insurance lobby and the anti-government lobby.

And besides, are poor information and irrationally high discounting not failures that Government action should try and correct? If citizens do not possess good information on which to base their decisions (and so make errors like not purchasing health insurance when it is in their interests to do so), and apply very high rates of discounting on future quality of life (e.g. due to nicotine addiction), that would seem an arena where Government intervention is welfare improving.

Unfortunately, people do not perform a perfect cost/benefit analysis. Even if the government got involved, some would still choose to go uninsured.

There’s always paternalistic compulsion (and, of course, compulsion helps deal with adverse selection problems in insurance markets).

It happens in many other markets where people make decisions that are not necessarily in their own best interests.

For example, it is impossible for a UK citizen to decide not to be insured by the NHS, or a UK citizen to decide not to purchase unemployment insurance etc

Again, some do, some don’t. It’s strange that you say I’m “very wrong”,

You’re suggesting the majority are in that category without any basis for that. I challenge you to find a single person in the US who has no insurance of any kind (as your argument is that if you are rich purchasing insurance is not welfare-improving)

The point is, for 47 million to be a misleading figure, I only have to prove that *some* of the people in that bracket can’t be considered victims of market failure

47 million people do not have health insurance in the US. You’re not disputing that I take it.

If fair insurance was offered, people who cannot afford insurance were helped by the state to pay and supplier-induced demand, adverse selection and moral hazard in the health care market was curtailed and people who had poor information about their risks of requiring health care and its costs understood the true risks they were running, very few people would choose to forgo insurance.

Boudicca:

Aside from suggesting the PM should be killed you mentalist, all you’ve done in your comment is do the classic:

LOOK OVER THERE AT HOW BAD LABOUR IS

Thinking that will somehow detract from Hannan being a ball bag.

It won’t but thanks for trying duckie.

DHG, could you at least try thinking in more than one-dimension? It is possible for me to like neither the US nor the UK systems for substantially the same reasons: monopoly and producer capture. The US system is absolutely unsustainable and unjust which is why I am discussing several alternative ways of reforming it.

Nick:

I’m multi-dimensional rudeboy! As I’ve pointed out in the other thread, the Obama plan seems pretty sturdy to me and a vast improvement to the current stae of affairs and thankfully, it a lot closer to being reality than yours is.

Also, glad that people kicked cjcjcjcjcjcjcjc’s daft statement up the arse.

52. sevillista

@Nick

There you are just letting your bias creep in. People who smoke might just have a shorter time preference, and might get more pleasure from smoking than you imagine (it certainly gives me a nice brief hit on the occasion I take a puff).

Do you sell tobacco for a living?

Might the fact nicotine is highly addictive be a more plausible explanation than a shorter time preference (or be the reason for the short time preference). Surveys suggest most regular smokers would like to quit (for example, the recent annual ONS survey into smoking behaviour showed 67% of smokers wanted to quit http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/smoking2008-9.pdf)

“I think most people would make sensible decisions if given the choice. But failing that, there are other market-based options like compulsory health savings accounts, in the same way we say that, perhaps on balance, compulsory car insurance is worth while.”

“most people would” infers that, even with a perfect insurance market, some wouldn’t. If you’re saying that we need “compulsory” options, you’re accepting that some would choose not to opt-in, which was exactly my point. As I made clear, I never tried to argue that all of the 47 million were voluntarily opting out, merely some. Also, see #54 re: my bias.

@sevillista: I think you’re misunderstanding where I’m coming from. I’m not in favour of the US system. I love the NHS. I don’t believe that theirs is a better system, or that some people obviously can’t get health insurance. I don’t disagree that the US government should encourage/cajole/even force the rest to get insurance, if not a single-payer system. I’m merely trying to point out that the number who truly “rely on charity in tented villages” is clearly lower than 47 million, and to equate the two does a disservice to a discussion about the misleading use of figures.

DHG, you’ve been pretty intent on shouting Nick down. We understand that you aren’t in favour of his ideas. Well done for conveying your view – multiple times. But will you stop being a condescending twat and allow the discussion to be opened up?

Calling all defenders of the NHS who are interested in constructive debate. Suppose you had the opportunity to design a new healthcare system. Would your design match the NHS in every detail? If not, what would be different and why? Perhaps we can find some common ground on which to build.

Well, DHG, I hope you are right but don’t come crying to us when these public plans don’t deliver those unicorns and angels either.

54 – 67% of smokers when asked by a probably vaguely passive aggressive government survey reckoned they wanted to give up. I tend to go with people’s revealed preferences rather than announced ones. I am not a tabacco salesman, I just believe in people’s freedom to choose.

UKLib:

CALLING ALL CARS! CALLING ALL CARS! CAR TO BASE!

You call it shouting down, I call it challenging, which is cool. But just want to check, is this thread about proposing alternatives to the Obama’s healthcare plan or is it about the daft twat Hannan? I could’ve sworn it’s the latter but silly me, that’s only in the title.

Nick:

I could be really really fucking wrong but I didn’t say owt about unicorns or angels, I just said SHOCK HORROR that Obama and Congress might know a wee bit more than you about healthcare in the US.

@57: Surely addiction is a huge limit on personal freedom?

Sorry I have to spell it out, DHG, but it was a metaphor for what the democrats are trying to promise, which is Medicaid level coverage for all. And you’re other point is just a pure appeal to authority. And not a great one either since Obama is a lawyer, rather than an economist, and congress is packed with politicians. I might as well say you should listen to Dan Hannan because he is an MEP.

Nick, I get that you pillock but your metaphor was a false one, I never made out it was dream land, you are, which is fine but that’s your opinion only, not some sort of fact, I think that his plans are within reach if dicks like Hannan and others don’t smear lies all over the truth.

As for your ideas having equal value to Obama’s and Congress…you’ll forgive me if I’ll laugh you off and defer to them on this one at the moment.

Lovely.

“@57: Surely addiction is a huge limit on personal freedom?”

In a manner of speaking (it doesn’t violate your civil liberty to be addicted). But it depends on a lot of things and I don’t think smoking is, in most cases, a serious addiction. Most people can give up if they really want to.

DHG, intertube discussions often develop away from the title / topic, which tends to make them a bit more interesting than monomaniacal bitching. Now, can we move on and try to have an constructive debate about how to make our healthcare system even better than it is?

I don’t think you are approaching this discussion in a friendly or tolerant manner so perhaps I’ll leave it at that.

Suppose you had the opportunity to design a new healthcare system. Would your design match the NHS in every detail? If not, what would be different and why? Perhaps we can find some common ground on which to build.

This is not a bad idea, but as I said in the other thread – it’s kinda difficult to do this when the reformers are spewing out stats which are simply not reflective of facts.

Secondly, the majority of Britons aren’t unhappy with the NHS otherwise it wouldn’t be such a loved institution.

So perhaps a good starting base would be to use facts (not Dan Hannan facts, but objective facts) and point out where problems lie within the system and what an alternative could be…?

I’m not convinced by the right that the system needs overhaul. The people of this country who use the system don’t buy it either.

Also, guys, can we all calm down on the debate? Hannan isn’t here to throw insults at… and Nick and ukliberty are long-standing LC commenters who this site is enriched by (despite them being right-wing 🙂 ) – so less insulting would be nice. Let’s keep that for the BNP related threads.

65. Chris Baldwin

And so Daniel Hannan’s fifteen minutes of being more than just another anonymous MEP come to an end. Yes Danny boy, running your mouth off was a good way to get noticed, but you should have known when to stop. Fact is, most of us appreciate the NHS, and the sight of a British politician going to a country with a Third World healthcare system and telling the locals that the NHS is, like, totally fascist and stuff, tends not to go down well.

Sunny:

Fair enough, trying to interrogate the ideas in my usual robust fashion but will ease off. Apologies.

ukliberty:

Indeed but we’ve not really explored the issue at hand yet?

Nick:

Sorry you think that duck.

66 Sunny H . What percentage of the population have experience of other systems? Only someone who has lived in another country a few years and used different systems have the experience to make comparisons. Just becaue the UK started the NHS does not mean it is the best look. In 1947 Japanese car industry was pathetic compared to ours, look at it now. In manufacturing and sports, good organisations benchmark their performance with the best, not the average . Another aspect of the American system which is good is the amount of medical developments which occur- Craig Ventor for example.

One aspect which we need to look at is encouraging people to maintain a reasonable level of health with sensible exercise,diet and lifestyle- once again we could learn a lot from the France ,Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and ScandinaviaJapanese and those in Singapore and Honk Kong. Once aspect of the NHS which does not do favours is that it appears to have taken away peoples responsibility for looking after themselves in a sensible manner: too many people expect the GP to cure them of their ill health caused by a poor lifestyle. One aspect of the financing of the NHS was that costs were expected to decrease as peoples health improved.

It is time we looked at inreasing prevention in order to control rising health costs.

Thanks for the support Sunny.

And you have a point on the “people seem satisfied” front. But I think that is a product of a number of things. The majority of people get a very partial view of the NHS and some are lucky enough to go for years without seeing it at all. A lot of people are also almost ridiculously deferential towards what the healthcare system can offer.

This is anecdotal but I remember the contrast between one middle class family in my area who pursued every avenue to gain cancer treatment, including eventually a trip to the US, and a working class family with a similar disease who stopped when the NHS said “there is nothing more we can do”, and just waited to die.

So I am not sure if subjective satisfaction is necessarily a good measure of what a healthcare system is achieving, especially when alternative providers are priced out of the market. More dangerously, it might account for some of our healthcare inequalities. No one bothers to market healthcare to those on lower income in the UK, as they know they have no choice to opt for them. They concentrate on those who can afford BUPA or AXA.

That’s very anecdotal indeed and I can match that with 3 uplifting NHS cancer stories.

Does that mean the NHS is good?

Course not. Best to leave the anecdotal out I’d say.

The uptake of private medical care in the UK seems to be low, mainly because we have a good health service, can anyone find good figures?

I’ve got from the ONS that 13% of all medical spending is in the private sector, I’ve also found a stat about 1 in 5 minor operations (as in non-essential or critical) occur in the private sector. Also, only 8% of UK population has utilied private medical facilities and most of those are as NHS top-ups rather than 100% private.

Which makes sense as we have a health service.

And isn’t the point of private sector to make profit, hence why would they market ‘goods’ to the low income families? I don’t get why that is a bad thing when we have the NHS?

“And you have a point on the “people seem satisfied” front. But I think that is a product of a number of things. The majority of people get a very partial view of the NHS and some are lucky enough to go for years without seeing it at all. A lot of people are also almost ridiculously deferential towards what the healthcare system can offer.”

This bugs me because once again you peddle personal opinion as some kind of fact, the idea that the majority of people have a partial view is a made-up, unfactual generalisation, as for the “ridiculously deferential” you could be mistaken that for numerous people actually liking the NHS based on their experience of it and the fact that generally speaking, it is good?

Has that thought crossed your mind? Or are you too busy pimping private healthcare?

Well I am glad to see your attitude on this thread has changed a bit.

My opinion is based on reading this book which discusses research comparing our system with a number of others, including the Dutch system where everyone has access to private healthcare: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quite-Like-Heaven-Options-Consumer/dp/1903386632

Many European systems deliver better outcomes and greater choice and de-centralisation is associated with these better outcomes. The advantage of this is that you remove the two-tier element that the UK system has at the moment.

Many European systems deliver better outcomes and greater choice and de-centralisation is associated with these better outcomes. The advantage of this is that you remove the two-tier element that the UK system has at the moment.

This seems a case of ‘grass is greener’ to me, and I can’t take it seriously unless you stop using anecdotes and cussing people for liking the NHS and actually find a comparator.

As I said earlier, I don’t buy the idea that the institution needs massive reform given that a big majority of people who use it are satisfied with it. I know it sticks in the craw of libertarians who want all sorts of freedom but hate it when people don’t quite agree with their definition of freedom – but you still haven’t offered adequate reasons for wanting big change.

Anyway – I’m going to publish an article tomorrow morning about the cost/benefit analysis which will shed some stats on the issue – then we can have a comparison you market-obsessed people may understand 🙂

I don’t accept the premise that the UK has a two-tier system with private care uptake only at 8% of population and with half of that 8% being partly NHS anyway.

We are talking a tiny sliver of the population.

Many European systems deliver better outcomes and greater choice and de-centralisation is associated with these better outcomes.

Many European systems spend more on their health care than we do!

“I don’t accept the premise that the UK has a two-tier system with private care uptake only at 8% of population and with half of that 8% being partly NHS anyway.

We are talking a tiny sliver of the population.”

Okay. So by that same premise rejection, you presumably have no problem with the private/state distinction in education, since only 7% of pupils attend an independent school.

“Many European systems spend more on their health care than we do!”

Sure, but via more decentralised means which tend to more effectively encourage productive services.

Nick:

Sorry but again you take healthcare and try and transfer the rule over to education because your point, which is really a a personal preference for private care, isn’t particularly gripping. The NHS is not in a terrible state and until you come up with a better level of argument it seems pretty pointless carrying on, as Sunny says.

Something that seems missing from this is how much we spend on healthcare in this country compared to others. The UK spends significantly less than all comparitor developed countries with a similar standard of health care to us. And – apparently – it’s still too inefficient for those on the right and takes up too much of our income

There seems to be a consensus that – provided you ignore that tens of millions of people are uninsured and underinsured, the poor health outcomes, the tented treatment villages and the higher premiums and uninsurability for the sick and disabled – the US performs about as well as the UK.

And all this at less than half the cost of the US. Imagine the health system we would have if the UK spent 15.2% GDP on healthcare…

UK – 8.2% GDP ($3,065 per capita)
US – 15.2% GDP ($6,347 per capita)
Sweden – 9.2% GDP ($3,727 per capita)
Netherlands – 9.2% GDP ($3,560 per capita)
Germany – 10.7% GDP ($3,628 per capita)
France – 11.2% GDP ($3,926 per capita)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_systems

“The NHS is not in a terrible state and until you come up with a better level of argument it seems pretty pointless carrying on, as Sunny says.”

So “it could be a lot better” doesn’t count as enough? I must say, I find the argument that “things aren’t bad and they could be a lot worse” quite powerful, because it plays to my conservative inclinations. But it is also a very conservative argument.

I use private schools as an analogy because you could say exactly the same thing about our education system: it works fine, don’t touch it, don’t do anything major. But the left are usually quite eager to get there teeth into education precisely because of that slither of private schools still operating.

Anyway, I look forward to Sunny’s commentary tomorrow. Just remember to check out some international comparisons, particularly in terms of equity and improvements in amenable mortality.

Hi

I entirely agree with this article.

It’s all very well debating the nuances of different health care systems. You could argue for a thousand years about them. Insofar as you can compare apples with oranges, the US has a system where commercial interests seek to make money at the provider level. We (the UK) don’t. Another difference is that the US consumer is paying for the cost of competition within the ‘market’ for the health services and products they consume (all those TV ads, websites etc). On top of this, the top end of the US medical profession is in on the game – desperate to maximise income whilst remaining aloof from any third party audit. That’s why the cost of US health provision is about three times the cost of UK health provision per citizen. And that’s why – in the US – the dice is fiscally loaded against the consumer in favour of insurance companies, big pharma, private hospitals, high-earning medics, media agencies etc, etc.

But that’s not what the article was about. I understood that the article was about a person (Hannan) purporting to be an official representative of the UK, who has gone to America and told lies about the NHS (?).

I actually also found Hannan’s earlier attack on Brown in the European parliament completely odious in that (a) he assumed a statesman’s position when he had no right, (b) he offered no solutions, and (c); in kicking Brown at that time, he was kicking the UK in front of an international audience. ‘Who the hell is this oily toerag?’ I asked myself in disbelief as the YouTube hits mounted.

Now this psychopath (there’s got to be some explanation for his behaviour) again presumes that he’s some kind of statesman, and goes courting corrupt and evil people in the US. People who would deny their brothers and fellow citizens healthcare in order to line their own pockets. He tells barefaced lies on American TV about our NHS – one of the key institutions which our grandparents and parents fought to bring about. In so doing he disrespects their memory, as well as disrespecting the UK’s medical and support staff who have cared for so many of us, our children and our other relatives.

Utterly despicable. A proto-Lord Haw Haw.

81. Hungry Horace

Modern Britain is a land where we don`t have to fear diesease or death? The entire nation is in good health?

Tad over the top, don`t you think?

Hannan is a diddy no question, he and Fox News belong together.

However: cj made the point right at the beginning here about people like Stephen Fry probably being unfamiliar with the current state of the NHS from the inside, as a a patient. The NHS is a lottery top to bottom, especially when you go into hospital. The standard of care you get will depend on well you & your family articulate your needs and desires: and people up the social scale will articulate their needs and desires more efficiently than those down the scale.

In some respects, given the exhaustibel resources, we already have a de facto class system – we just don’t want to admit it.

I have no idea what Hannan’s agenda in the US is and I don’t care. But at least it has had the effect of opening up a debate on the NHS that is way overdue. It has been a sacred cow for far too long.

Sunny I don’t buy the idea that the institution needs massive reform given that a big majority of people who use it are satisfied with it.

If my local council hired staff to walk the streets every Friday giving out £20 notes, the recipients would no doubt be satisfied with the service- but that desn’t mean it is an efficient use of public money.

The economic facts are that when people spend their own money they tend to demand value for it and service providers have to work hard to satisfy those demands. When something is provided without charge, the service may have benefits to the recipients but they cannot value it as they would a directly paid for service- because it has no cost.

Further, because the service has cost nothing, the natural and obvious response of the recipient is gratitude- regardless of the quality of the provision. Because of this response, no pressure is built on the service provider to improve.

That’s one of the reasons why doctors often adopt an arrogant, high-handed attitude to their patients (they are paying nothing therefore they should be grateful). And it’s also the reason why more than 6 million people don’t turn up for their hospital appointments each year (at an average cost of £100 each) and why we pay GP’s six figure salaries to prescribe antibiotics, anti-depressants and viagra.

The waste of resources is absolutely collossal.

One of the problems for those arguing for reform is that, because nobody in the UK has direct experience of any other system, the natural assumption is that, if the NHS were dismantled, people would be left to die in the street or would not be treated for serious conditions. I believe this is a fallacy.

After all, how many people have starved to death because the post-war UK government did not decide that access to food was a basic human right and did not create a National Food Service? Free food for all.

How many people believe that, had they done so, we would be eating better by now?

Thought not.

84. sevillista

@pagar

The waste of resources is absolutely collossal.

And the USA is a paragon of efficiency, leaving many uncovered by insurance and getting Third World outcomes for many people, and all for only twice the price?

No. It’s not.

I’m not sure that an insurance based system is any better- in many ways it is more wasteful because of the resources that are creamed off by the insurance companies.

But that does not make our system a good one.

86. sevillista

#89

But that does not make our system a good one.

What kind of system are you thinking to improve efficiency? All the comparator countries seem to spend significantly more than us.

If there’s “collosal waste” as you suggest then we should be aiming for health spending of ~6% (a 25% cut).

There’s areas to improve efficiency (not least shifting resources from acute care to preventative medicine – a very politically difficult thing to do), but I’m not convinced that the UK system isn’t the right framework for these efficiency gains to be made.

Indeed Sevillista, fundementally, the NHS is a good service.

Not to be a smug bastard but all those saying that Cameron wouldn’t care or get involved you have been OWND!

HURRAH!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/14/health-nhs

Interweb meltdown last night.

Sunny, thanks for your generous words.

…despite [ukliberty] being right-wing )

I saw the smiley but I’m not sure how right-wing you think I am! My lefty friends say I’m right-wing and my righty friends say I’m left wing.

…the majority of Britons aren’t unhappy with the NHS otherwise it wouldn’t be such a loved institution.

So perhaps a good starting base would be to use facts (not Dan Hannan facts, but objective facts) and point out where problems lie within the system and what an alternative could be…?

I’m not convinced by the right that the system needs overhaul. The people of this country who use the system don’t buy it either.

I don’t think much of the appeal to numbers / popularity. I agree with the “starting base”.

I have no feelings one way or the other for the NHS. But as I understand it the majority of people support the NHS in principle – indeed healthcare is one of the five most important topics at election time, those five far more important than any other, and therefore a party suggesting getting rid of it had better have something brilliant in the wings if they hope to be in government.

But to claim that people don’t see problems is inaccurate, I think. For one thing, I’m sure everyone here has heard reports of a preponderance of managers (perhaps Parkinson’s law applies). Chris Dillow, among others, criticises managerialism in the NHS and says we should consider worker co-ops.

I believe the NHS IT programme was not conceived with our interests in mind but those of its political masters. And, like so many other projects, it is later and much more costly (by an order of magnitude, that is, of the order of ten times as much) than we were led to believe, because they didn’t abide by the advice of the NAO (among others) on why IT projects are commonly late and more costly than anticipated. That is our money that could have been better saved or spent elsewhere. I think we should wrestle control of the NHS away from politicians.

Then there was the article, linked to by Nick, about John Petri. If it is accurate then it describes something quite shocking (but not surprising). It seems a fairly simple change that would have significant, positive outcomes. I suspect that there are a number of similar opportunities.

There are wider things to look at too. Are the externalities of food, tobacco, alcohol etc covered by taxes? Well, tobacco is, I think – the revenue from tobacco exceeds the cost of treating tobacco-related illnesses. Alcohol could be a different matter (I have been unable to find figures) – revenue is about £20bn but the cost of treating alcohol related illnesses and the social costs of alcohol (such as policing alcohol related violence) could well exceed it. I like a drink, and I’d like everyone to be well treated, but I don’t want people taking the piss.

Recently there has been much criticism of the Swine-Line. The Grauniad takes contributions from front-line health workers that are usually worth a read – none, to my knowledge, say there are no problems (well, that wouldn’t make for an interesting article).

And so it goes.

Indeed the NHS is such a huge and complex organisation I would be stunned if there are no changes that could be made that save money, not harm patient outcomes and may even improve them. And I think everyone concedes that the more money has been spent, the less value we have seen from it.

Assuming for the sake of argument there are opportunities for improvement, the next question is how to realise them. It seems to me that many on the left (and New Labour) – but not all – believe the optimal solution stems from yet more top-down control, more rules and regulations, more box-ticking. It would be an understatement to say I don’t believe that has a chance of being the optimal solution.

Most people seem to support the principle of taxpayer funded healthcare free at point of use. I like that principle too – so there is common ground on which to build. Where we part ways here is how to deliver it and how to make change. I think evidence-based policy, as opposed to policy-based evidence, would inform the changes. I think people on the ground often know better than people at the centre. Incentives matter.

There is also the question of what to deliver. Nick made a good point earlier about equality that I don’t think commenters have substantively responded to: “Is it better that everyone get poor or no healthcare, or that everyone gets some and some get even better?”

I don’t believe that, in this context, equality is something we should aspire to for its own sake. Rather, my ideal is a good standard of healthcare below which no-one should be allowed to fall and I’m not particularly bothered if the rich can afford better (it was ever thus). I suspect that here too is where I and many on the left part ways.

“Mr Bevan referred to the launching of the new health service and said that during the next few months there would be complaint after complaint about what they were not able to do. In the past the distress was there, but the complaints were not heard. ”After tomorrow,” Mr Bevan said, “the weak will be entitled to clamour.”’

The Times, 5 July 1948

The NHS hasn’t been adopted in our form in many countries largely because of the immense expense and difficulty involved in setting it up. Remember Bevan had to ‘stuff their mouths with gold’. The medical lobby is powerful and wealthy and holds the best industrial relations bargaining chip going.

I think it’s safe to say that Hannan’s days as an elected representative will be numbered after this. Did he not realize that, while he may have been fawned over by Glenn Beck and co, he was effectively committing political suicide in the UK by saying this? It shows breathtakingly bad political judgement.

92. Steve Garnett

Completely agree with the last comment. For the silent majority the NHS is a godsend and something held very dear. It has faults but what institution doesn’t and in the vast majority of cases it provides a superb service. Indeed, the very fact that it is so accountable to the public makes its retention favourable: we own it.

This is not simply jumping on the bandwagon either. This overwhelming response to Hannan’s remarks is a true reflection of majority feeling, something that draws together people of all political persuasions. Hannan is certainly allowed his views but odd we do not see them aired in this country.

93. Jack Hughes

Can JAMES please list the errors in Hannans interviews, please ?

Maybe even just 3 things he said that are not true if you are too lazy to do the whole lot.

The article and the comments are just a load of bluster and ad-hominem garbage.

I think Daniel Hannan is wonderful even if I don’t agree with many things he says, he is eloquent and outspoken and unafraid of party whips and the excessive micromanagement of both main political parties. If only there were more people like Dan in politics.

And he doesn’t duck a debate.

I suggest you ask him to a debate here on the relative merits of the UK and Singaporean health systems.

They’re talking “death panels” as soon as you try extending Medicare, I’m not surprised that it’s difficult for them to go as far the UK.

That’s because the US Medicare system is going to go bust. It’s a government sponsored Ponzi scheme that will not withstand the Baby Boom generation drawing on it.

Something has to be done about the costs of US Healthcare and the first thing that needs to happen is tort reform because large amounts of money are being extorted from healthcare through frivolous lawsuits.

Oh good Christ the thread has been invaded by Tories…again!

Jack Hughes:

Hannan lied about public feeling about the NHS, Hannan lied about how ineffective it is, Hannan lied about how much it costs and the value that is extracted, crucially he misjudged the mood towards the NHS and as his attack had no substance, that has left him with a ticking off and a dismissal as eccentric.

John A:

We are all very glad that you think that Hannan is wonderful, you seem to be basing this wonder on the fact that he speaks his mind, which is great but a low common demominator, esp. as his mind is not much worth speaking.

As for more people like Hannan in politics, no, bad idea, becuase he is an idiot with views that do not represent the vast majority of the UK. So yes to freedom of expression but yes also to freedom to take apart idiots who express their terrible ideas.

“And he doesn’t duck a debate.”

That is not a mark of genius, esp. when your ideas are that bad.

“I suggest you ask him to a debate here on the relative merits of the UK and Singaporean health systems.”

I for one would love that, considering that the Singaporean system is by no means perfect and riddled with flaws.

As for Medicare going bust, that is what the reforms are for and you mention tort reform, the last bastion of any right-winger losing an argument, when it would be far easier to just reform the healthcare system itself.

97. Charlieman

Hannan’s self defence at the Telegraph is fascinating:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100006578/the-nhs-row-my-final-word/

The author is described as a writer and journalist.

The article comprises 950 words in a single paragraph.

If you can find a longer paragraph in any UK newspaper in the last twelve months, I’ll buy you a pint.

WELL SAID! THANK YOU.

99. the a&e charge nurse
100. Jack Hughes

@Daniel Hoffman-Gill

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Your points are vague generalisations. Could you please post something that he said that was FACTUALLY incorrect. For example if there is another organisation that is really the 3rd largest employers in the world. Or if the death rate from MRSA infections is NOT into the thousands.

Your post #103 is only one step removed from simply saying “I don’t like his haircut”.

101. Jack Hughes

@Charlieman (#105)

So you don’t like his punctuation. What do YOU think of his haircut ? His shoes ? How about his socks ?

A lot of bloggers start with the MAJOR criticisms of a politician. Detailed point-by-point argument about what is wrong with his policy or his speech or his philosophy. This seems to be absent on this blog. Instead we get vague generalisations and ad-hominem tosh. And nit-picking.

Jack Hughes:

You should have just retreated, evidence has laready been provided elsewhere but your dogmatic and tedious defence of the twat has meant that the facts will have to be re-released on you but I doubt then you’ll crawl off and hide, you’ll reject the facts or somehow try and defend the twat in another way. Bless you.

Hanna stated that “the NHS produces some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialised world. Britain is the Western state where you’d least want to have cancer or a stroke or heart disease” but he is horribly wrong, in his constituency alone life expectency and success rates against those two diseases have gone up. Nevermind the fact that in every measure of healthcare success, life expectency, infant mortality, number of beds, number of doctors, number of nurses, the UK is near the top of the tables and in all cases bar one above the US.

To quote the right-leaning Journal of the American Medical Association:

“US residents are much less healthy than their English counterparts and these differences exist at all points of the SES distribution … The US population in late middle age is less healthy than the equivalent British population for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, lung disease, and cancer … These differences are not solely driven by the bottom of the SES distribution. In many diseases, the top of the SES distribution is less healthy in the United States as well.”

And:

“With the sole exception of cancer, there exists a sharp negative gradient across both education and income groups in both countries … As a result, country differences are larger and tend to be more statistically different at the bottom of the social hierarchy than at the top. Level differences between countries are sufficiently large that individuals in the top of the education and income strata in the United States have comparable rates of diabetes and heart disease as those in the bottom of the income and education strata in England.”

The key lie by Hannan though was the nonsense, already dismissed here but as you blindly insist on not just fucking off and defending ‘your man’, that: “Outside Westminster, the old incantations are losing their magic. … Yes, all three parties are committed to the NHS … I wonder whether, as on tax and borrowing, public opinion hasn’t overtaken the Westminster consensus”.

Even if we ignore anecdotal evidence of the public response to NHS bashing, even the right-wing media’s leap to the defence, Hannan is lying that the UK people hate the NHS and do not want it.

Let’s just take one study of 3,000 people by YouGov that asked the following: “The NHS is sixty years old this year. Which of the following best describes your attitude to it?
(a) Whatever problems the NHS may have, its commitment to free treatment for everyone means it is still one of our great national symbols: 70%
(b) The NHS was a good idea for its time but we now need a different way of running modern healthcare provision: 25%
(c) The NHS was a bad idea from the start and it should be abolished and replaced with something different: 1%
(d) Don’t know: 3%”

The party breakdown was as follows(%): Labour voters were 80-15-1-4.

Conservative voters were 56-39-3-2.

LibDems were 79-13-3-5.

The man is an idiot, spouting untruths to an idiotic audience, your blind and silly defence of a fool is odd but next time I’d suggest you’d choose and ally that isn’t a cock.

103. Jack Hughes

Oh dear.

You would make a better case without all the ‘twatting’, ‘cocking’, ‘fucking’, more ‘twatting’ and general abuse.

No I am not defending nor attacking Hannan: I’m just interested in what he had to say and reading some sensible criticism of it. Adult criticism.

If that is happening elsewhere then please provide a link. Thanks.

You asked for evidence bitch and you got it. As I suspected you don’t like it and you’re being a fanny.

Bye bye now!

105. Jack Hughes

Is this a Tourette’s blog ?

No, it’s a place with a short torelance for those that ask for facts and then refuse to accpet them.

Bye now!


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