This letter appeared in the Haslemere Herald and Farnham Herald today in support of Dr Louise Irvine. Louise is standing for the National Health Action Party in SW Surrey against Jeremy Hunt.
I am an American by birth and have been a UK resident for the past 11 years. I am writing this letter to explain one reason why my husband and I are supporting Dr. Louise Irvine in the upcoming election against Jeremy Hunt.
One evening, over dinner, some British friends asked me what was the best thing about living in the UK — and before an eye was batted I said, “The NHS.” There were slight puzzled looks from everyone around the table. I think my friends and neighbours here in the UK do not fully grasp what healthcare is like in the USA.
It can break you. Quickly.
In the U.S., if you are fortunate enough to have the money to buy fantastic private insurance or if your employer provides it, then it’s no problem. You will get great healthcare. However, if you are like most people, you probably have a mediocre insurance policy with a high deductible and co-payments for every office visit and every drug and some procedures, big or small. Or worse, you have no insurance at all and are praying every day that you do not get sick or need to see a doctor.
That’s right. The wealthiest country in the world provides most of its population with medical care that is…well…almost non-existent. Oh yes. There’s The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). It’s a great system if you don’t mind being forced to buy substandard health insurance that may not cover a lot. The policies change every year so that you may have to change your doctor every single year because your network changes. The prices are fixed for one year and then the insurance company is allowed to raise its premiums, forcing people to shop around all over again for a company that they can afford.
Confusing? Yes. And utterly ridiculous and much more expensive than a one-payer system such as the NHS.
So here’s a plea to my British friends, neighbours and community members: If you value the NHS then you’d better protect it. At the moment the government is selling off segments of our healthcare system and they’re privatising it, bit by bit and the insurance companies and the corporate friends of those in power are laughing all the way to the bank.
Dr. Irvine, National Health Action Party, is the only viable candidate who is running against Jeremy Hunt in the upcoming election and she is our chance to send a candidate to Westminster who will speak for the people and not bow to corporate powers.