I realised something quite profound (at least for me). I’m not fighting to save the NHS. I’m fighting to stop profit-making becoming the central and dominant motivation for providing healthcare. Just like most other countries that prioritise health over profit.
Folks think the NHS is some sort of unique socialist service. In fact the vast majority of wealthy countries operate with a very similar core – that is, we all pay much the same amount into a pot (often means-tested), and then we all get pretty much the same treatments when we need them.
It doesn’t matter if it’s insurance-based, employer-based, or national insurance-based (as here in the UK), most democratic and developed countries use this foundation to build a health system on. The treatment you will be offered doesn’t depend on your previous illnesses or even your bad habits (broadly speaking). Everyone is eligible for the same treatments.
There is the issue of how quickly you get the treatment, and also there are a small number of treatments only those who can afford it can access. But for the majority, most modern societies ensure all have access to the vast majority of cost-effective treatments. Countries where additional health insurance is an option, it usually takes the form of improved access, shorter waiting times, more choice in provider, but it does not define whether or not you get treatment.
The US model stands out in this regard. The level of treatments everyone is entitled to is much smaller than the treatment you can get if you have paid for the “extra” insurance. Indeed, what other countries see as very basic treatments are denied to US citizens if they don’t have “extra”. And of course such commercial health insurance isn’t the NHS/developed nation style of everyone pays in and gets out what they need. It depends on your health status with the sick subsidising the healthy (assuming at some point a healthy person will need to use the service too).
And this is what I’m fighting for. Healthcare should prioritise those who need it most, not actively try and prevent those who need it most from using it. And this is exactly where the U.K. is heading – to a place where if you are unfortunate enough to get injured or have an illness, you will be disadvantaged from using the very service you need the most.
I’m fighting against those in power forcing a model of healthcare onto us that is the outlier – one of the only models that goes completely against the principles of medicine and civilisation.
We know it is worse for the patient.
We know it costs more.
We know the actual health outcomes – death and disability – are worse, as this graph shows.
We know it forces people into poverty and bankruptcy.
So, I’m not fighting to keep some ideological dream of The NHS alive. I’m fighting to stop profiteers exploiting the suffering of others to the point their health needs are compromised.
It’s fine to make some profit, but not fine for it to be the central or sole motivation. And one inescapable truth keeps repeating: if it’s so good for us, why aren’t they bragging about It? Why aren’t NHS leaders & politicians bragging about this “new and improved” US-model of healthcare?
The truth is it only benefits a few. For the rest of us, it’s a disaster.