Britain’s National Health Service: It’s coming to America

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PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a group of liberal activists meeting in Las Vegas they shouldn’t worry about not getting the single-payer provision in the new healthcare law. “We’re going to have a public option,” Reid said. “It’s just a question of when.”

Remember the objections conservatives and many Republicans raised during the debate about government-run healthcare and the danger of eliminating private health insurance, despite its many flaws?

Recall that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was frequently cited as an example of where the U.S. health system might be headed: coverage for all, but with lower quality, long waits for major surgery and denial of care when the government decides the procedure is not “cost effective.”

Anyone who believes a U.S. healthcare system based on the NHS model can somehow fare better than Britain’s had better consider this recent headline and story from London’s Sunday Telegraph: “Axe Falls on NHS Services; Hip operations, cataract surgery and IVF rationed; Cancer care, maternity, pediatric services at risk.”

Rationing? Oh yes, and it is something the unconfirmed, recess-appointed U.S. healthcare czar, Donald Berwick, strongly favors.

British government leaders had promised to protect frontline services. The Obama administration also made similar promises in order to win enough support from members of Congress, most of whom never read the bill before they voted for it.

Here’s what America can look forward to if it follows the NHS model, according to an investigation by the Sunday Telegraph: “Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.” Never has “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” sounded more callous.

Nursing homes for the elderly would be closed, the number of hospital beds for the mentally ill reduced and general practitioners would be discouraged from sending patients to hospitals. Accident and emergency department services would also be cut.

Thousands of jobs would be lost at NHS hospitals, reports the Telegraph, “including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.”

Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association called the cuts “astonishingly brutal.” She expressed particular concern at attempts to ration (that word again) hip and knee operations. “These are not unusual procedures,” she said. “This is a really blatant attempt to save money by leaving people in pain.”

What do politicians care about that? In Britain, as in America, top officials (including Berwick who has lifetime health coverage given to him by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement) will always have access to the best care, even while they decide the rest of us cannot.

This paragraph in the Telegraph story should send chills down the spine of every American: “Doctors across the country have already been told that their patients can have the operations only if they are given ‘prior approval’ by the Primary Care Trust, with each authorization made on a ‘case by case’ basis.”

When cost, rather than the value of life becomes supreme, rationing will inevitably lead to other cost-cutting policies. And yes, despite protestations from those who favored Obamacare that “death panels” would not be part of the equation, you can count on them. They will, of course, be called something else. We wouldn’t want to disturb any remaining moral sensibilities we might have.

It has taken the NHS 62 years to get to this point. America’s journey should be a lot shorter given the declared goals of Harry Reid and Donald Berwick.

It is more than ironic that this is taking place in the year when Britain is observing the centenary of the revered nurse Florence Nightingale.

Given the prevailing attitude toward the value of human life and its care, her replacement might be the likes of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Hemlock, anyone?

[Cal Thomas is America’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist, appearing in more than 600 national newspapers. He is the author of more than 10 books and is a FOX News political contributor since 1997. Email Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.] ©2010 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

Cyclist
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President Carter and Sen. Ed Kennedy

There was not much love loss between the two. According to the AJC, President Carter will (again) acknowledge that Kennedy was the main reason why the US did not have comprehensive health care earlier.

The late Sen. Ted Kennedy, champion of the recent health plan legislation, actually delayed comprehensive coverage for Americans for decades, says former President Jimmy Carter. It was Kennedy’s actions to kill Carter’s own health care bill that made Americans wait more than 30 years for meaningful coverage, says Carter in an interview with “60 Minutes”

The interview can be seen this Sunday at 1900.

Don't you just love politics.

Chris P. Bacon
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Death Panels? Oh NOE!

Other countries have implemented a single payer health care plan with relatively few problems. Great Britain is currently struggling with their single payer plan, therefore, Cal Thomas has "proven" that single payer won't work.

Observerofu
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Country's like Canada, UK and Israel all with single payer

are all backing away from single payer systems. Each Country is moving towards a privatization of their Healthcare while we motor on blindly towards it. Why are they moving away form it? Cost and lack of facilities.

I guess when we have to be part of a lottery for an MRI like Canada does then the great folly here will be over.

"A couple of years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the healthcare system violates Quebec’s charter of rights because it collects taxes, promises healthcare in return, forbids competing suppliers and then often doesn’t deliver the care. The justices summarized the situation this way: “A place in a queue is not healthcare.”

Canada-wide average wait times for surgery is 17.8 weeks, though in Saskatchewan, wait times for hip replacements are as long as a year and a half. That’s after a physician has ordered the surgery. Getting to see a physician in the first place is very difficult. Statistics Canada reports that 1/5 of Canadians do not have a family doctor.
http://getbetterhealth.com/whats-wrong-with-canadas-healthcare-system/20...

Death Panels anyone?

""Last year alone NHS Wales achieved savings of over £200m, through measures such as reducing the length of time patients stay in hospital and reducing unnecessary admissions.

"This year we have an unprecedented target of savings £435m - about 8% of the NHS budget."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10486273

"They have been integrated with NHS trusts to form seven boards, which take control of all hospitals and community services, GP and dentist funding.
The new boards will be responsible for deciding which treatments and services are available."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/8283265.stm

Could SP have been correct?

lion
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Healthcare and observofu

Yes, health care in America needs to be a commodity we buy like Big Macs, Fords, or Bud Lites.

The Republican position on health care is the heck with sick or poor Americans. We don't care about them. A free market approach to health care will mean that those who can afford health insurance might live; those who cannot afford health insurance will probably die. This is the Republican vision of America.

President Obama has tried to appeal to the better values of America in regard to health care. Everyone is entitled to basic health care. President Obama is not perfect but he wants to move us in the right direction. The Republican response has been that Americans must be afraid--very afraid--of any expansion of health care coverage.--it might be somewhat European or Canadian.

As everyone knows???, Europeans and Canadians are dying on the streets everyday. And Republicans are pretending that Europeans and Canadians are demanding health care from United Heath care or some other American corporation. Incredible delusion on the part of the right wing.

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Lion - A free market approach
lion wrote:

Yes, health care in America needs to be a commodity we buy like Big Macs, Fords, or Bud Lites.

A free market approach to health care will mean that those who can afford health insurance might live; those who cannot afford health insurance will probably die.

I'm curious, one minute you say that health care should be like buying any commodity like hamburgers, automobiles and beer and then you harpoon the free market philosophy. Interesting.

So are you proposing that health care should be taken over by the "guv" where prices and wages are set by some central planning committee and the same committee determines what the ROI would be for new technologies, medicines and facilities? Under that type of scheme, you'll get your basic health care like BP monitoring and maybe an aspirin or two and that's it.

lion
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Cyclist and health care

Maybe I should not try to use so much sarcasm (as in "health care should be like buying a commodity like Big Macs, Fords, or Bud Lites"). I guess I may confuse some people.

My bottom line is there should be a public option. This is not the same as Canada or many European countries.

There are three main actors in health care; 1) private insurance companies who are in this game for profits and raise our premiums drastically every year; 2) state governments who are cash-strapped and/or are unwilling to ensure health care for all of their citizens; and 3) the Federal Government which has proven through Medicare that it know how to mange a universal health care system with minimal overhead costs.

Why would a rational person not choose a public option program for everyone like the Medicare system now run successfully by the Federal Government?

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lion,

I hear you and I want you to know that I don't have all the solutions either. But like it or not, our health care scheme is bottom-line orientated. That's the driver for attracting people into that profession, for drug companies to create new drugs, technology companies to create new equipment/cures and facilities to be built.

As for those insurance companies and their profits, here is an interesting factiod. We as a nation spends about $282 million an hour for health care. If you roll all the profits that insurance companies made last year and manifold that into back into the health care dollar flow, it would provide only 42 hours health care. So what about the other 8,718 hours?

The Obama health care scheme touted the new controls on insurance companies but that's not real problem. The real problem is how keep prices from escalating year after year.

Medicare is under control. How so? Is it because congress keeps appropriating more money to it every year. That portion of government expenditures continues to grow and will crowd out other programs. (Gee, why do I still continue to see those Hoveround commercials proclaiming little or no cost because......well because you and I pay for them even though they're not prescribed.) Or how about those people that should not be here like a certain some one's aunty. You know the one; she was told to leave but stayed - in public housing and had medical care provided by the good citizens of Massachusetts under their failing health care scheme.

I can go on and on. So it's your turn. I'm going the gym and scare off some fat cells.

BTW, another blogger coffee thingy is coming up soon in Fayetteville.

lion
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Cyclist and bottom line health care

The problem is that the bottom line now are profits for the insurance and drug companies.

The bottom line should be accessible, affordable health care for all Americans.

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Lion
lion wrote:

The problem is that the bottom line now are profits for the insurance and drug companies.

The bottom line should be accessible, affordable health care for all Americans.

Is that it? Your conclusion is that profits are wrong? Do we tell all the employees in that field or tell companies that develop new technologies and cures that they should do it out of compassion?

Davids mom
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Cyclist/medical/research cost

Interesting point. My thought - not out of compassion, but within financial reason. I have visited countries, and I'm sure you have too, where doctors and scientists are highly respected - but not paid an exorbitant salary.

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Davids mom - I know this...

when I had to give birth to my son colon ten years ago my surgeon was from Sri Lanka. He made more money over her than home. I suspect that if pay or ROI was reduced then resources such as staff, technologies, drugs, facilities will likely be much less. Then it would be about rationing. That kind of reminds of an analogy about the old Soviet Union. Good steak was cheap but it was not always available.

The Wedge
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Therein lies the problem

The moment that a profit incentive is taken away from healthcare, it will atrophy under stagnating investment and increased utilization. Services will be curtailed and healthcare rationed. There is nothing new under the sun. State run anything becomes stagnant, noninnovative, and rationed. Care providers leave because there is no profit.

Courthouserules
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wedge

You mean like the military? The building of dams and bridges? The Corps of Engineers? Wars?

alanf33
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For some reason

I suspect that you don't like the military, think wars are passe', and are huge fans of the Corps of Engineers (remeber Katrina?). But for some reason, the same government that runs all of these will do a top notch job running a full blown healthcare monopoly. Go figure.

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Cyclist.. It's the entitlement mentality

that has invaded this culture. Everyone wants "their" share. They see all the moochers out there and they want some. I currently have 3 positions open. I called some former employees I had laid off during the first quarter and was told they had 99 weeks to "chill" (their words) and to call them back after Christmas.

Free Healthcare is not free. Someone has to pay for it. That's all well and good until the money supply runs low then the Government has no choice but to cut back on services. You can only raise taxes so much before the wealthy which pays almost all the bills anyway leaves.

Councilors in the UK are booked until after 2012. What are they doing? Counciling Americans, Wealthy Americans, on giving up their US Citizenship. The Wealthy are leaving America because they see this Government coming after them.

The Government did it in California and look what happened. California is broke. The rest of the US is next.

Courthouserules
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overflo

Sounds as if they make more from unemployment than what you pay? Unless of course you furnish one of those full major medical insurance coverages!

They fear you will lay them off again at the end of the year and their free money will then be gone.
Hey, Pedro will come and work! (for $12 an hour 40 hours per week).

Davids mom
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Sad - lack of work ethic

when legal citizens bring home more from 'unemployment' than the job they had. What is even sadder is that they would rather take 'government' money than WORK! We have got to reinstate 'ethics' in our curriculum. Evidently the younger generation of parents has been too busy earning the all mighty dollar to teach the 'work ethic'.

swac
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Who broke California?

Prop 13 broke California. Just like the 'Fair tax' will break America if it becomes law.

mudcat
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Fair tax does not have a chance

because it makes too much sense. The politicians are not capable of logical thought. Nor do they want to give up their nut squeeze on voters. Of course if we vote them out in November and replace them with normal people, Fair Tax may happen.

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Why I voted for Proposition 13...

because I was tired of the state not taking action and addressing the ever increasing taxes on homeowners. Homeowners become nothing but an ATM for the local and state bureaucrats.

Now I see ole Governor "Moonbeam" wants to run again. Heaven help those poor folks.

Mike King
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Cyclist

"Homeowners become nothing but an ATM for the local and state bureaucrats." One needs to look no further than Peachtree City to see the revenue grab among local government agencies like the BOE, City Hall and the County commission.

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Mike King

We must be ever vigilant.

Cyclist
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Observerofu - moochers

Google Zeituni Onyango. Now that's a moocher for ya.

Cyclist
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Aunti Zeituni MOOCHER

Here's an interview with aunt moocher.

Aunti Zeituni

Now boys and girls (oh, and CHR$ too) here's your test for today; what president said that we are a nation of laws? ☺

Courthouserules
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cyclist

President Adams said it, but many others have also said it. The United States Jaycees also sponsor that saying.
N ow, do you know what it means and why he said it?

As to President Obama's relatives I see no connection there that would disqualify the President from being President!
As to favoritism to her, I don't know if he knew she existed until he ran for President. He has many relatives in Kenya, I'm sure.
Many of us had them in Bulgaria, Hungary, Transylvania, Italy, Nazi Germany, Colombia, and most anywhere you want to mention!

Lyndon Johnson had his alcoholic brother in the basement of the White House; John Kennedy had his Mafia girlfriends, his Hollywood Father, and bum Irish politicians of Mass.
Nixon had his brother and Shaker friends and BeBe Rebosso, etc.; Ike had his English girlfriend; Harding had his......; Jefferson had his slaves and Washington; Jackson was a real scoundrel with terrible relatives; Roosevelt (FDR) had his secretary and "helper," The other Roosevelt was a real Jackass; Truman kept a slight buzz on and played crooked poker; Reagan was bought out by General Electric and became a Republican, after working for Roosevelt, due to an amount of money he couldn't refuse.

I could go on but it just shows that these things are useful only to those who don't like the man!

It is not an unpardonable sin to be here having not been born here! Especially if the government allows it knowingly or even unknowingly!
Kenya is known (as is many African detachments) as a place of kidnapping, rape, and torture, and murder. She was granted amnesty.
Just as many Irish, Italians, etc., were!

Cyclist
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So CHR$,

Are you saying that President Obama has a freeloading aunt that is still mooching off the good citizens of Massachusetts and was illegally in the country for a number of years and was told to leave and failed to heed that order? Now she wants the “system” to support her.

If that is correct, I have a new video for you it's called "Immigration Gone Wild."

Ah the joys of the third world.

Courthouserules
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cyclist

Yes, pretty much so! Mass. keeps doing it.

We have a number of banana republic officials in hiding here being supported by the CIA. We send a lot of them to France (Paris) at least two from Haiti for which we transfer their ill-gotten bucks to a French Bank.

Also some African dictators (the great big fat one who kidnapped an Israeli plane)that we send off or take in or supply money for.

Why not Kenyan refugees?

Hey we even have 2-300 illegal Mexicans right here in Fayette County every week working for republican managers & corporations off the books.
Sometimes things are convenient.

The last two Generals we had in Iraq and Afghanistan (maybe more of them) made the terrorists (who ran off Russia) very rich in order for them to
help us "whip" them out of certain cities 5-6 times.

There are tens of thousands of South Vietnamese that we funneled out of Viet Nam when we ran,(illegally) and live here in better than middle class circumstances. They stole all the money before leaving just as did the Marcos'!

Why are you so hopped-up on one stupid, poor Kenyan? President Obama?

Davids mom
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Moocher?/Cyclist

She seems to be in the same boat as too many of our legal citizens - even if she is related to POTUS. Maybe her status improved since 2008 - but going back to Kenya isn't in her immediate future.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections...

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/12/01/who-is-subsidizing-obamas-illegal-a...

. . and she's not exactly living 'high on the hog' now. This is a result of YEARS of both parties not dealing with the reality of illegal immigration.

Cyclist
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YES Moocher!!

She was told to pack her bag about 6 years ago. And instead she............off the good citizens of Massachusetts.

inkslinger
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Moocher from Ma. is the Best Place

in the country to hide deadbeats and moochers. But that is going to change soon, as Teddy is gone, Kerry is going to be gone and Moocherworld is gonna collapse from the weight of the corruption in that state. Hope I live long enough to see it. Can't be too soon.

Davids mom
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With the help/Cy

of the Bush administration. Politics has played havoc with this problem of illegal immigrants - and many are NOT HISPANIC! I still wonder how many in the fishing industry in our northern states have outstayed their work permits - if they obtained the permit. Moochers are throughout our country - in executive offices and in farm fields. We need to deal with the fraud and corruption that exists - and stop looking for political scapegoats.

Cyclist
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Davids mom - Well

With the help/Cy of the Bush administration

I somehow figured that would be your openning response. Please be a little more creative it's getting old.

Moochers are throughout our country....

Well this moocher was told to leave the country and instead she did what? So help me out here please; which president has stated repeatably that we are a nation of laws? Hint, he's in office now. ☺

...in executive offices and in farm fields. We need to deal with the fraud and corruption that exists.

And we are. Do the names Rangel, Waters and Kerry (although he had miraculous change of heart) come to mind? And just think, Princess Pelosi stated that what Rangel did was no big deal. Eyes rolling

Anyhow, lets keep that conga line moving along.

Davids mom
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Cyclist/I prefer the cha cha - more movement

It's interesting that in these discussions - some of us- including me - resort to pointing out the weakness/fault in the 'other side'. Could it be that there is an endemic problem here with 'both sides' of the American politic? Just askin' Cha cha cha. (You know that I could name some 'conservative/Republican' names to go along with Waters, Rangel, etc.) Hmmmmm - remember Nixon and pals? How interesting that the enemies of the UNITED States, realizing that 'race' may not continue to be such a divisive issue in the future - have now found another issue to divide us - conservative ideology vs. liberal ideology - and we're just eating it up! Actually there are valid points to both ideologies - but I feel there are other 'fears' that motivate persons to refuse to 'listen' to the other side. Sad - for we need to be united now more than ever.

By the way - how come no one is addressing the 'white' illegal immigrants in our country - at our universities, working in varied industries, etc.? Hmmmmm. They're just as much a drain on taxpayer funds - or is it easier to 'digest' them? Please don't go to 'drug cartel' stuff with the Hispanics - the Russian, Italian, Jewish Mafia doesn't speak Spanish. I think the younger generation is realizing some of the hypocrisy during this election year. All of our 'weaknesses' will come out in the November election cycle - it's going to be messy.

I somehow figured that would be your openning response. Please be a little more creative it's getting old

The truth never gets old.

Cyclist
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Davids mom,

You are so right there has been Repubs that did wrong and few are in jail as we speak. I sure hope you forgive me but, I have no compassion for them at all. As the song once said I broke the law and the law won.

BTW, I feel little naughty........no I mean conservative.....tonight. I guess I took my "red pill". ☺

Anyways, coffee thingy soon. Details coming.

Cy

Davids mom
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Cyclist

:-)

Courthouserules
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cyclist

The BP check and aspirin is only for those who do not make enough money to afford insurance!
There is a middle ground between aspirin only and people with $20,000 cost a year insurance! These people never pay anything additional.
There is absolutely no point to forcing those without to crowded emergency rooms which might make them sicker!

Charge premiums that people can afford for health insurance and supply required treatment subsidized by Medicare or Medicaid just as we do now for retirees.

One way to pay for that is deducting full social security insurance from everyone with no limits on the maximum.
Also, we do have about 30% inefficiency built into the current health treatment---in management and workers output.

Cyclist
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Oh please CHR$...

tell us you haven't fallen for that liberal "gobley goop" about those evil insurance companies.

Courthouserules
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evil insurance companies??

No, I didn't say that. Companies are only as evil as those running them making the most money. Companies can't do anything without humans.

I will leave it to you to choose who is "evil."
Those at hospitals who are forced to charge for services not rendered, or those insurance companies who call and say, "send them home today," they have overstayed their limit. (you say they are still numb from the eyes down---send them anyway in a wheelchair to their car).

Observerofu
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Lion your views are a bit simplistic

I know I know Republicans want Granny to eat Dog food and kids to drink dirty water and breath polluted air too. These old tired talking points is the best you got?

You say everyone is entitled to basic healthcare. Show me where "they" do not have it. Show me the dead lying in our streets.
Define basic?

You can ignore facts but you cannot ignore the conclusion that Single payer system is un-constitutional and the American people do not care for it.

"On Tuesday, Missouri voters cast 71 percent of their ballots in favor of a state measure to bar the government from requiring people to carry health insurance, and penalizing those who don't." Face it we the taxpaying citizens of America do not want another Government entitlement program for the Receiptiant class of America. You want it.. Go to Canada.

Tdgonline
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Trial by National Health?

Yes, to imply that America's health care reform is going to the dogs by its association with Britain's NHS, (now in the throes of cost cutting) is really more akin to a trial by "National Health". Which is to say that one nation's model doesn't necessarily make for another nation's model. And anyway, why would America want to repeat the same mistakes of another country? So I think it's safe to say that even if single payer ever came to be, that it would be well thought out and examined against the current national debt as well as every American's ability to contribute.

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Another reason why the libs need to be removed from office

Let's vote em all out and defund this monster that the libs created and passed against the will of WE THE PEOPLE before it destroys America.