Monday, July 30, 2012

The NHS? Really?

I love the Olympics! The summer Olympics is my favorite because my wife and two kids are swimmers and I am a USA swimming official. As a family we have spent hundreds of hours on pool decks practicing and competing in a great sport.

I know politics is part of the Olympics although I wish it wasn’t, but the stark reality is the Olympics offers country’s the opportunity to highlight the things they are proud of. That is why I was so surprised to see a reference to Britain’s National Health Services. I really enjoyed most of the opening ceremonies up until that point where the director took the audience in a very strange direction by combining institutional type beds and nurses, basically reminding everyone why we have tried so hard to move from anything institutional, and then throwing in some children’s nightmares. I am not sure what we were supposed to feel about that part of the program but I know it was very depressing to watch. It also left us a bit baffled as to why this was part of the opening ceremony?

The reality is that the healthcare system in Britain is great unless you are sick and old. And in reality, when we are sick and old is when we need the most from our healthcare system. The stories are abundant about the elderly being denied care because they are not a “good investment” of healthcare dollars, and the waiting lists for “routine” (what we consider routine but will change under Obamacare) services are months and years long.

The British have a long history of improving the conditions throughout the world through their long list of industrial improvements, and the birthplace of our Founding Fathers. The British have a long history of educational advancements and great universities, command of the seas and the development of global trade. I wish the director would have spent more time on those areas and left the socialized medicine is great stick out of the ceremony.

We are bombarded enough about politics especially in a presidential election season. It would have been nice to have been spared the NHS is great lie on such a grand scale…

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