A brilliant (and doomed) template for healthcare reform

As the debate on healthcare drones on in the US, I have been struck by a heretical thought: the differences between the British National Health Service and the US healthcare system are not nearly as important as their shared weaknesses.

The difference between the two systems has been exaggerated of late. The uninsured in America are not barred from emergency rooms by security guards. The NHS has not assembled a death panel to do away with Stephen Hawking.

I’ve had experience of both systems. My wife’s life has been saved once by American doctors and once by British ones. One of my daughters was born in Washington, DC, the other in London. And I’ll admit that the systems feel very different. The outcomes are different, the bureaucracy works in a different way, the waiting times are different and the rules of access are different.

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Tim Harford’s blog

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Tim, also known as the Undercover Economist, writes about the economics of everyday life.