A criticism often leveled at American health care is that our quasi-capitalistic system isn’t equitable, that poor patients receive poor care simply because they are poor. Implicit in this criticism is the assumption that a universal government-run system would be more egalitarian. However, the BBC reports on a new study that reveals this assumption to be nonsense.
The NHS is a “divisive influence” which favours the assertive middle classes over poorer people, a study says … “Much depends on where you live, how much you earn … and crucially who you know.”
And how does this class bias manifest itself in terms of treatment?
People in deprived areas were often more in need of treatment, but less likely to get hip replacements and key x-rays … those on lower incomes made more use of primary care but were less likely to be referred on for hospital treatment.
Britain’s system of socialized medicine contains fewer elements of capitalism than any health care delivery system in the developed world. If government-run health care could truly guarantee fairness, the NHS would be a model of egalitarianism. And yet it provides better medical treatment to the better off.
I guess this means yet another “universal health care” myth has to be thrown over the side.