YES, NATIONAL HEALTHCARE REALLY IS THE WAY TO GO….Advocates of universal healthcare frequently claim that European-style national healthcare systems, aside from being fairer, are just more efficient than ours. They provide decent healthcare at a lower cost than the jumbled, pseudo-free market system we have in the United States.

But is it true? Do even relatively mediocre, underfunded national healthcare systems like the one in Britain perform as well as American healthcare? A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reaches a pretty unambiguous conclusion.

The researchers studied health outcomes in both countries and controlled for age by comparing only people aged 55-64. They controlled for race by studying only non-Hispanic whites. They controlled for obesity. They controlled for income. They controlled for education. They controlled for everything they could think of. Here’s what they found:

“At every point in the social hierarchy there is more illness in the United States than in England and the differences are really dramatic,” said study co-author Dr. Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist at University College London in England.

….The upper crust in both countries was healthier than middle-class and low-income people in the same country. But richer Americans’ health status resembled the health of the low-income British.

The researchers are careful to say that their study doesn’t prove that Britain’s healthcare system is better than America’s ? something that would be nearly impossible to demonstrate conclusively with a study like this in any case. But that’s not the point. The point is that it’s obviously not worse even though the British spend about half as much as we do per capita.

So here’s the deal: under the British system, you don’t have to worry about which doctors your HMO allows you to see. You don’t have to worry about losing coverage if you get laid off. You don’t have to worry about being unable to get a new job because you have a pre-existing condition. You don’t have to worry about being bankrupted if you contract a serious chronic illness. And large corporations don’t have to worry about going out of business because of spiraling healthcare obligations.

And the result of all this? Healthcare that’s as good as ours and delivered for about half the cost. Under a national healthcare system, when you get sick, all you have to worry about is getting well. Explain to me again why we’re afraid of this?

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