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The United Kingdom’s National Health Service is in trouble. ”N.H.S. Overwhelmed in Britain, Leaving Patients to Wait,” read a New York Times headline earlier this week.
The situation sounds dire:
At some emergency wards, patients wait more than 12 hours before they are tended to. Corridors are jammed with beds carrying frail and elderly patients waiting to be admitted to hospital wards. Outpatient appointments were canceled to free up staff members, and by Wednesday morning hospitals had been ordered to postpone nonurgent surgeries until the end of the month.
Over the past week, hospitals have increasingly declared “black alerts,” an admission that they are unable to cope with demand, the health service confirmed, without releasing numbers. Most hospitals have been unable to meet emergency-ward targets of seeing patients within four hours because of a shortage of beds and staff.
With all due respect to our UK readers — obviously, the foremost concern is whether Brits can get access to the health care they need — I couldn’t help but wonder how this kind of headline would influence the US debate over single-payer health care, if we ever have one.
(A note: The United Kingdom technically goes beyond single-payer, where all health care is paid for by the government, to a more comprehensive system where not only does the government fund everything but doctors and hospitals are also employed and owned by the government.)
Sarah and I, as we’ve mentioned before, participated in some focus groups late last year in which opinion researcher Michael Perry asked some Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton voters how they felt about Read More Here