Great Britain has provided yet another glimpse of the horrors to which patients are subjected under socialized medicine. The latest victims of the NHS are the hearing impaired:

Patients across the country are waiting more than two years for a hearing aid, and up to five years to have old-fashioned equipment replaced by modern technology.

And, for anyone out there credulous enough to believe that government-run health care is compatible with transparencey, there is this tidbit:

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf … uncovered the findings under the Freedom of Information Act …

That’s right, the apparatchiks of the NHS were sitting on this information. If not for a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group, this scandal would never have seen the light of day.

And what sort of action will the NHS bureaucrats take to address this scandal now that it has been uncovered? Here are the reassuring words of a Department of Health spokesman:

We recently published a national framework which sets out the tools the local NHS needs to transform this service.

Well, that’s a big help! My guess is that the patients would rather have hearing aids than “a national framework.” But what do actual patients matter when the higher goal of universal health care is achieved?

Comments 8

  1. Marc Brown wrote:

    I wonder, David, how your feet are? It’s just that you shoot them yourself so often… In the US, most health plans do not cover hearing aids, and that includes Medicare. Digital hearing aids cost thousands of dollars – which means many poor Americans go without.

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 1:12 pm
  2. Catron wrote:

    So, according to your “facts,” both systems are equally remiss in their treatment of these patients. Where does that leave your contention that government-run health care is superior to our model?

    Also, “poor Americans” are covered by Medicaid (not Medicare), which does cover hearing aids in most cases. And Medicaid patients, unlike their English counterparts, aren’t forced to languish on waiting lists.

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 1:25 pm
  3. Marc Brown wrote:

    I hope for your employer’s sake your math is better at work – how you equate no provision with universal provision is beyond me. Yes, NHS provision for adults could be much better in some UK regions but it is improving – and of course those with cash can buy any hearing aid they want at once. Deaf people have long been underserved in many countries – I see that in the US it is only recently that some state provision has been made – against the usual opposition – for hearing services for children.

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 3:47 pm
  4. Catron wrote:

    “How you equate no provision with universal provision is beyond me …”

    Marc, your “universal provision” is a meaningless illusion if hearing aid patients are left for dead on some Purgatorial waiting list.

    And what’s the point of government-run health care if your countrymen must go to the private market to get the device they need?

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 5:16 pm
  5. Marc Brown wrote:

    Sorry David, most people in the UK do get what they need. In this case, the only recourse for most Americans is to pay themselves, for as you well know hearing aids are not included in federal mandate and high quality Medicaid provision is patchy and hard to obtain. Once again, you’ve picked on an example that shows America in a worse light.

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 6:43 pm
  6. Catron wrote:

    “most people in the UK do get what they need?

    Perhaps you should look up the definition for “universal.? Your assertion that your system serves “most people? is an admission that it isn’t universal.

    When one considers that confession along with what everyone already knows about the notoriously poor quality provided by the NHS, that’s a pretty damning indictment.

    So, again, why should we in the U.S. emulate the pig’s breakfast that is the NHS?

    Posted 30 Dec 2007 at 7:16 pm
  7. Marc Brown wrote:

    Here’s wishing you a happy – and more enlightened – New Year.

    Posted 31 Dec 2007 at 4:40 pm
  8. Catron wrote:

    Backatcha, Marc. I’m looking forward to dragging my knuckles through another year.

    Posted 31 Dec 2007 at 7:27 pm

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