Defaming the NHS

The British have succeeded in putting a price tag on human life, as we are about to. (from IBD editorials)

This ridiculous line suggests that there may even be some justice to the cliche that the Americans don’t understand irony. Because the writer obviously didn’t spot the irony in attributing the flaws of the US healthcare “system” to the NHS.

Let me spell it out. “A price tag on human life” is the price you have to pay when you don’t have good – or, indeed, any – health insurance. You know, like millions of people in the USA.

In the UK, we don’t have to worry about there being a price tag on our lives. The cost of UK healthcare comes out of our taxes, paid almost unnoticeably when we are well. So, we can just worry about being sick, rather than being sick as well as destitute because we are sick.

The NHS is great. It is generally free at the point of delivery. Almost everyone in the UK loves it, whatever their political views.

(However, if you really want to pay for private insurance and private healthcare, there is nothing to stop you. You’re not obliged to take the free version, which tends to be inferior to the private sector only in terms of the quality of the hotel services and in the speed with which you can get elective surgery.)

Hat tip to Respectful Insolence for drawing attention to this article as a sample of the dangerous lies being spread in the USA about the British National Health Service.

Respectful Insolence quoted a staggeringly stupid paragraph from the first version of the IBD editorials post. They claimed that Stephen Hawking (UK citizen) would have been left to die if he had had to rely on the NHS (for which I think he’s certainly got reason to be grateful). There’s a screenshot of this comedic claim on

All the same, there are other assertions in the IBD editorials post that are just as absurd as the Stephen Hawking fantasy.

The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof are legendary. The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror movie script.

This is “legendary”, indeed. However, the word “mythical” might have been a better choice.

These stories may read like a horror movie script because they are exactly as true as the average horror movie script.

Health care isn’t “rationed” in the UK. Nor is it shared out according to a mad points system, contrary to the claims in this article that:

The more points you have, the more your life is considered worth saving, and the likelier you are to get care.

This article falsely suggests that the NHS operates some sort of non-voluntary euthanasia policy. This is so far from the truth that it is not even living in an adjacent galaxy.

6 thoughts on “Defaming the NHS

  1. The Rethuglicans in this country seem to have absolutely no problem lying, and the lies and dirty tactics are just getting worse and worse, because they are working. People are stupid enough to believe them.

  2. I think they are objecting to the fact that rich people cant jump the queue and people are treated on the basis of medical need rather than size of their bank balance. What a shocking concept.

    The stories of people dying on a waiting list

    This is true, but is not a fault of the NHS as people die waiting for organs in every country in the world. Even in the US people die on waiting lists… Shock, horror.

    That this blatant lying has any traction at all in a developed world country with massive internet penetration is shocking.

  3. 95% of the people in this developed world country have an imaginary friend. THAT is what I find shocking. When you realize how gullible they are, the fact that they believe all the other lying makes more sense.

  4. this takes insane to a new level.

    a national health service is there to look after people not kill them. the idea that having one takes away patient choice is barking mad. NHS patients can still chose to have private treatment (in the US model) if they want, but they have the fall back for the poor.

    maybe the US just wants to kill off its poor people in some bizarre, covert, eugenics program. the irony of this being supported by rightwing creotards is priceless.

  5. chimeraLaurie

    Yes, good point. The vested interests behind these lies must assume the US public’s capacity for gullibility is boundless.


    Dead right.

    The levels of lying about this issue were pretty staggering. Depressing that a British MEP was happy to tell lies about the NHS on Fox.

    (Although that’s also possibly good, given that one thing that could prevent a Conservative election victory would be them showing themselves to be a danger to the NHS.)

    It’s quite cheering that Stephen Hawking said, in Washington, that he actually owed his life to the NHS, according to the Guardian.

  6. The irony of using Hawking as an anti-NHS icon is staggering. The sheer ignorance of these people is only matched by the ignorance of those who fall for their lies. Of course the US health insurance industry is going to bring out its huge guns to stop this threat to their income stream – but should that be enough to make people roll over and accept their dictatorial control?

    It depresses me that there is a risk (however small) that this madness could spread to the UK. For all its faults (and it does have them), the NHS outstrips pretty much any other healthcare model. Only the rich and wannabe rich can think a 100% pay model make sense.

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