So what did you think about the opening ceremonies at the Olympics in London? For the first few minutes I thought I had tuned in to an elaborate fire drill gone wrong. I guess they figured that they had a limited time to cram in a lot in order to showcase England’s progressiveness and cultural diversity, so they had to highlight the historically significant things that they were most proud of.
As it turned out, one of those things was their national health care system (NHS). They missed an excellent opportunity to engage in some real Olympic opening ceremonies ground-breaking by making the entire audience there in the stadium a part of the elaborate celebration. They could have had each member of the packed assembly represent part of a symbolic line of citizens waiting to receive health care in Great Britain. Of course the stadium wouldn’t have been large enough to hold all the members of the real line, but they could have done the best they could with what they had. Instead they just had legions of nurses attending to children bouncing on hospital beds. Apparently all of the doctors have already chosen other professions.
To me the strange selection of their health care system as an introduction to the Olympics was a case of protesting too much. It’s as if their message was, “It’s not as bad as everyone says.” (Perhaps a preemptive theft of the next Obama campaign slogan?)
It was all very moving. In fact it moved me to dredge up a recent Investor’s Business Daily article that provided some interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization, as follows:
Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within 6 months:
Percentage of seniors needing a hip replacement who received it within 6 months:
Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:
Number of MRI scanners per million people:
Number of seniors with low income who say they are in excellent health:
Hey, no wonder we have so many Americans going to England to get their health care. And for those worried about the disparity in these numbers, don’t be concerned. There is sure to be much less disparity after a few years of Obamacare.
Finally, if you are looking for a government-paid dentist in England, forget about it. It seems that when the government started allocating a certain amount each year for NHS dentistry, scads of dentists left the system causing almost a million fewer people to have access to an NHS dentist. The Daily Telegraph reported that some people have resorted to using pliers to pull out bad teeth.
Thankfully, none of these scenes of self-desntistry were a part of the opening ceremonies.
- Fred Thompson