Friday, August 14, 2009

Daniel Hannan is a cock

Well, he's certainly proved to be a tool for the big healthcare insurers in the US with his performance on Fox News (sic) with his inane comments on the National Health Service. There aren't many politicians who would spend so much time running down their own country as Hannan, who certainly finds himself at the far end of the Thatcherite scale, receiving messages from the Redwood mothership.


He said that he 'wouldn't wish it on anyone' and called the NHS 'a 60 year mistake.'
The healthcare system we have is kind of a relic of an era in Britain when the state was considered all-powerful and benign and when we had rationing and when we had ID cards and when we had mass nationalisation. And we're still stuck with it because, once you get a system like that, it's almost impossible to get rid of. How amazing to me that a free people, you know, citizens of a country founded on the principle of independence, independence for the citizen as well as independence for the state, should be contemplating, in peacetime, burdening themselves with a system like this, which puts the power of life and death in a state bureaucracy

Here's the full display of Hannan's arrogant cockosity, courtesy of YouTube.






Quite early on, the 'fair and balanced' Fox News show puts up a graphic which claims to show waiting times in the NHS

That claims that this data comes from the BBC in May 2009, when it actually refers to this page from May 2004. A mistake or an attempt by Fox to deliberately mislead to support their argument?

More current data - also from DrFoster - reveals that hip replacements and knee replacements are typically completed within three to four months; varicose veins are sorted within two months, cataracts within three months (although some trusts are down to a month now) and hernias are being repaired within 90 days. All those figures include the wait to see the consultant from when your GP first refers you.


I'd be failing if I didn't point out that Daniel perhaps remembers a different time, when the Tories ran the NHS into the ground, when a Conservative Prime Minister sought to win votes by promising treatment within 18 months on the NHS. Now we've had massive investment under Labour, putting money into a service that had been starved, and we're looking at treatment in less than 18 weeks.


Elsewhere, that long term friend of socialised medicine, The Daily Mail, produces a piece that shows the NHS at its magnificent best, with a team of Birmingham medics leading an incredible 48 hours that has delivered a better life to 15 people with a record-breaking series of organ transplants.


And nobody asked for insurance details, queried whether the patients had a pre-existing condition or demanded a credit card up front.


There's a reason why your holiday travel insurance jumps up if you include the US as a destination and the healthcare system is it. He's a former resident on his experience when he fell ill on a brief return to the US for a meeting


With an acute urinary obstruction, the first person I saw, and the only one who could admit me for treatment, was the woman in charge of payment. My credit card probably saved my life.

So, not a 'death panel' or a 'bureaucrat between you and your doctor,' but rather a woman with a cash register. In the US, it may not be a government official who gets to decide whether you live or die, but rather a representative of your insurance company. Actually, the thing is that Obama isn't even proposing to create a US NHS service - there isn't even a bill to debate at the moment and it looks increasingly likely that the voices of big business will win the day.

Thirty years ago, a close relative suffered a major haemorrhage while at work. The emergency ambulance crew who picked her off the floor of the classroom didn't have to check with her insurance company before deciding which hospital would be appropriate. The doctors didn't have to get a credit card swiped or check her insurance cover before starting her on the first of the ten or so pints of blood that they pumped into her over the course of a life-saving operation. They weren't worrying about whether they would get paid, just whether this woman would live. When my daughter was born prematurely, it was the NHS team at Heartlands that saw her through her first few weeks in an incubator and helped to ensure that she's now a bright and healthy teenager.


While I'm nervous about my job, I don't have to worry that if I do lose it, my healthcare insurance falls away, leaving my family vulnerable. As Mitch Gluckstein puts it, that's one of the biggest benefits of the NHS - it removes the fear.
There may be delays, frustrations and bureaucracy with the NHS, but the system delivers outstanding healthcare at no cost to the patient and far less of the GDP that the US system consumes. Being over 60, all prescription drugs are free. Perhaps it is that absence of fear of becoming ill that is the most important aspect of the system.

Is the system perfect? No. It is one of the largest employers on the planet and treats a million Britons every 36 hours, so within that, there will be mistakes, but any huge service - whether run for profit or not - will make mistakes from time to time. The best thing that it can do is to learn from them and try to do better in future - that's all we can do as humans.


The NHS is the greatest and most enduring gift to the nation from an inspirational 1945 Labour government and it is unquestionably something of which we should be very proud. And here's the best-kept secret - it costs less than the US. Daniel Hannan says that
the state doesn't do things as efficiently as the market does.

Well, in the US, 16% of the GDP goes on healthcare, as against 8.4% in the UK - which translates to $7290 per person per year in the US and just $2992 in the UK. And for that, we have a lower infant mortality than the US and we live longer. Go figure.


Yet Hannan wonders how the US can afford a new system. How can it afford not to, with 15% of the population having no healthcare at all?


No wonder Cameron's been forced to the front to declare that Hannan is 'an eccentric', but it appears that many of the leading lights in the Tory party are close to those US congressmen who see it as their duty to defend the rights of millions of Americans not to have any healthcare at all.
George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, as well as William Hague, Chris Grayling, Michael Gove and Liam Fox, are listed as advisory council members of Atlantic Bridge, an organisation dedicated to finding solutions for the common challenges facing Britain and America through a “well-positioned network of like-minded people”.

Feeble-minded people like Republican congresscritter John Campbell who had the good fortune to run into Dan the Man at the Fox Studios and learnt so much
He gave me a few facts about the socialised medicine plan in Britain, known as the National Health Service. [It] is enormously inefficient, wasteful and costly. And this is the system that President Obama, Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and the vast majority of Democrats in Congress want to emulate!!!! This is nuts.

However, Hannan could serve a purpose for the Tories. Apart from illustrating an inbred arrogance, he also provides a convenient whipping boy for Cameron. Hannan can act as a focus for the right wingnut branch of the Conservatives, while Cameron can slate him and punish him to show the centrist voting bloc that the Tories have changed and can be trusted to look after the NHS. There's a fine line to be walked here - too much of Hannan and he becomes the face of the nasty party and a walking Labour campaign advertisement. Too little and Cameron won't have the opportunity for a Clause IV moment to demonstrate the differences of New Conservatism. Will Cameron have the courage to really slap Hannan down? I doubt it. Hannan does speak for a nastier edge of the Tory party and Cameron wants them onside, for fear that these Tory die-hards might slough off to UKIP if Dave seems too soft for them.


Hannan is not some great political sage, he's just a cock.

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