Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Monday, June 13, 2005
Busy time coming up. So the world may just have to turn without me for a few days.

Before I go, let me recommend this. John Weidner pointed me in the direction of a fair-minded and touching article by David Asman, describing the experience of his wife, who unfortunately suffered a stroke, in both the British and US health care systems. Asman says:

Neither system is without its faults and advantages. To paraphrase Thomas Sowell, there are no solutions to modern health care problems, only trade-offs.
That is true, and in an emergency it can be a great blessing that under the British system one does not have to worry, or even think about costs (though one may have to worry rather more about outcomes because one doesn't have to think about costs). However, many of the disadvantages of the US system that Asman mentions are not inherent to private healthcare; rather they are the results of defensive medicine, itself the result of bad tort law. Thomas Sowell has good sense to offer on that subject, too, in The Vision of the Anointed. Excessive, unpredictable and illogical awards of compensation could as easily be associated with a public as with a private system - and the way things are going in Britain they soon will be.

Some of John Weidner's commenters mention the French system. Although it slightly spoils my free-market rant to say so, I must say that when my husband bashed his leg on holiday we were extremely impressed by the kindness and efficiency we saw. The doctor, who came out to the roadside where my husband was sitting unable to walk, refused payment. Not worth his while to do the paperwork, or just a nice guy? I don't know. Actually he was an exceptionally nice guy whatever. The hospital was clean and relatively uncrowded. Waiting time for an X-ray: twenty minutes. (Waiting time in Blighty for an X-ray of my daughter's broken arm: six hours. She had to go without food and water for all that time in case they had to operate.) After our return to England were billed by the French hospital for about £30. To be that low the fee must be heavily subsidised, but I suggest that the fact that there is some fee does great good. I paid it with gratitude.