Role of the State

The fractious debate over President Barack Obama‘s efforts to reform US healthcare has provoked a transatlantic split, as some critics from the American right ridicule the UK’s National Health Service, which some people view as a possible model for the US.

David Cameron, leader of the UK’s opposition Conservatives, on Friday added his voice to that of Gordon Brown, Labour prime minister, in defending the NHS from US criticism, saying Britons were proud of the service. Mr Brown’s intervention on the Twitter social networking site came as some Republicans used the NHS as an example of the potential pitfalls facing Mr Obama as the US president tries to push through a healthcare reform bill. Would you rather be sick in the US or in the UK? Click on the “comment” button to join the debate.

FT Editorial: US health reform is irresistible
The current system causes insecurity, ties workers to jobs they might prefer to leave, suppresses wages and encourages over-consumption of over-priced services. The case for change is irresistible.

Philip Stephens: Home truths about rationing healthcare
All models of healthcare, the American included, share one characteristic. They ration access, while pretending otherwise. In Britain, the state imposes the limits; in the US the market does much the same job. What separates them are questions of efficiency and equity.

Clive Crook: Obama took wrong turn on health
Despite independent analysis, the president is continuing to insist that control of costs is the principal reason for embarking on reform. This is worrying moderates, the very people whose support is needed to bring about change.

Video: Nicholas Timmins on fact and fiction in the health debate
As some on the US right ridicule Britain’s NHS in the discussion over US healthcare reform, Nicholas Timmins, public policy editor, looks at the pros and cons of each model.

Edward Luce: Healthcare paranoia is part of America’s culture war
To its surprise, the Obama administration is faced with a full-scale culture war over healthcare which has very little to do with arguments and everything to do with identity.

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