Bill Sykes' Newsletter
An ex-Brit gives his views-(without fear
or favor)---of the American Scene
Ronnie writes from the USA.
My wife and I are both approaching our seventies and
in need of many prescription medicines, and I heartily
echo your sentiments, especially about the cost of medications
and the fact that many poor folk have to go without or
make a choice between food or medication.
President Bush has announced a program to send people
to the Moon, develop a Moon colony, and then use it as
a platform to send astronauts to Mars. This will cost
hundreds of billions of dollars, yet poor citizens of
the United States are denied funding for life saving medical
treatments, and prescription drugs.
When I raise the question of socialized medicine there
are some Americans who question my sanity.
I know of many elderly people whose health is poor and
who cannot afford medical attention. Few Americans are
prepared to step forward and fight for health care benefits
for the chronic poor and senior citizens. Many senior
citizens who ought to be able to relax and enjoy their
"Golden Years," are never free from the constant
worry that comes with deteriorating health problems that
requires cash, which they don’t have, to take care
of such situations.
The mark of a civilized nation is how it looks after
the most vulnerable of its citizens, its children, its
poor, and its senior citizens.
As you are probably aware from previous issues
of the newsletter, I have very strong feelings about the
apparent off-hand treatment by certain segments of the
American public with respect to the medical treatment
and prescription drug benefits, (or lack of adequate provision
of such benefits), made available to their senior citizen
From the first day I arrived in the United States some
thirty six years ago, I was appalled at the totally inconsiderate
approach by many Americans towards the provision of health
care benefits for the lower echelon citizens, who unfortunately
were not in the position to afford adequate health care
treatment, and prescription drugs, due to the enormous
strain being placed upon their relatively meagre financial
heard many times, the following comment coming from even
the most generous of Americans, "I take care of my
own family’s medical care, so why should I pay for
other people’s medical treatment", which in
a country as affluent as the United States is not only
a disgrace but a very short sighted policy and attitude,
considering that perhaps they them selves may find out
when the time comes for them to retire on a fixed income,
that they are in the same boat as some of today’s
financially restricted citizens.
Many times I’ve had to correct American misconceptions
obviously brought about by their lack of knowledge of
the workings of the British National Health Care System.
(As it was when my family were covered under that system).
The American public has been mislead into accepting the
premise that British Socialist Medicine was free, and
consequently they considered the service being provided
was inadequate and well below American health care standards.
I explained that most of the British people paid an equal,
or greater amount in National Health contributions than
most Americans were then paying for their Medicare coverage.
I admitted that for many non-life threatening medical
conditions, there were times in Britain when treatment
was deferred and delays occurred in hospital admittance
for treatment, but explained that the treatment given
by the British General Practitioner and the exalted Harley
Street Specialist was certainly more than adequate and
indeed comparable to any care given by the American medical
profession, especially if the American person or persons
requiring treatment didn’t have Medical Insurance.
One must remember that even today there are over 40 million
people in the United States who do not have medical coverage.
don’t get me wrong, Americans are very generous
people but they do have some kind of hang-up when it comes
to the subject of what they define to be Socialist medicine.
After seeing the decline in the British National Health
Care System over the years, apparently due to the influx
of a massive number of immigrants, which has overloaded
the system - perhaps they have a point.
Of course the more affluent people in Britain are able
to pay the high fees for BUPA private insurance, (Initiated
I’m told by guess who - why, an American insurance
company of course), but according to my sources the private
system uses the same hospitals, the same doctors, and
the same specialists, but instead of waiting months for
treatment they are fortunate to be able to receive priority
treatment and practically immediate hospital admittance.
So much for non-socialist equal medical treatment, for
of course there are always some more equal than others,
but that’s the way of the world we live in.
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