BRITS FEEL ‘DUPED’ BY U.S. CONSERVATIVE GROUP…. Rick Scott’s Conservatives for Patients’ Rights (CPR), a rather sleazy outfit trying to rally opposition to health care reform, is airing commercials featuring criticism of England’s NHS from two British women with bad experiences within the system.
Ms Spall and Ms Brickell both agreed to appear in a documentary on healthcare reform. But neither knew that the footage would be used as part of a TV advertising campaign carried on US networks.
Ms Spall, whose mother died of kidney cancer while waiting for treatment in the UK, told The Times: ‘It has been a bit of a nightmare. It was a real test of my naivety. I am a very trusting person and for me it has been a big lesson. I feel like I was duped.’
Although standing by her views, Ms Spall said she was horrified by how the CPR had used her words.
‘What I said is what I believe, and I stand by it, but the context it has been used in is something I was not aware would happen,’ she said. ‘The irony is that I campaign for exactly the people that socialised healthcare supports. I would not align myself with this group at all.’
Ms Brickell, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer after being refused a smear test because she was too young, said her words had been ‘skewed out of proportion’ by the CPR.
She told The Times: ‘The NHS let me down and I just wanted to make the point that people should not rely solely on it. But what I said has been skewed out of proportion… My point was not that the NHS shouldn’t exist or that it was a bad thing. I think that our health service is not perfect but to get better it needs more public money, not less. I didn’t realise it was having such a political impact.’
The larger point, which apparently needs to be repeated, is that Democratic reform proposals would not create a British system. The comparison doesn’t make sense in any substantive way. Whether the NHS is extraordinary or dysfunctional is important, but in no way relevant to the ongoing American debate.
But if conservative activists are going to talk about the British system, and quote British citizens, the least they should do is be honest and fair. It is, apparently, too much to ask.