A better debate about healthcare

Surgeon at work

For all the controversy of Daniel Hannan’s intervention in the American debate about healthcare reform, he has at least performed one valuable service. Too often, debates about domestic policy reform in Britain are conducted as though we are the only country in the world to have domestic policies. We would be much better off in discussing health or education or transport or whatever if we studied and knew more about how other countries do things. That way, we might learn some lessons and avoid some mistakes. In particular, our own complacency about the way things are here might be shaken up from time to time.

A case in point is the criticism by Daniel Hannan of the NHS. The only politically correct response is to say that we love the NHS just as it is. The idea that it could be improved in some new way, along French or German lines for example, is deleted from the national conversation.

Even worse is the assertion by health secretary Andy Burnham that Mr Hannan is unpatriotic for questioning the way the NHS is run and funded. This is even more ridiculous than anything that has been said about healthcare itself. For, whatever this blog knows about healthcare, it knows a lot more about patriotism, and it knows for sure that Andy Burnham is not the judge of it.

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