KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Brits Fight Back Against ‘Ridiculous Claims’ About Their Health System

U.S. health care reform efforts garner attention and reaction from around the globe especially from Britain.

The Washington Post reports that Britons are getting irritated by health-reform rhetoric: "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy would be refused treatment for his brain tumor in England -- at least according to one of the allegations lobbed at Britain's state-funded health-care service recently by critics of President Obama's proposed health-care reforms. Such claims have irked British health officials, who say they are misleading, exaggerated and sometimes just plain wrong."

The Washington Post: "Complaining about Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is a popular pastime here. The waiting times for specialist treatment are too long, Britons say, or the risk of picking up an infection in an unclean hospital ward is too high. At the same time, they consider such griping their particular preserve"(Adam, 8/13).

Denver Post / The Associated Press: "Britain's National Health Service is fighting back against conservative critics of President Barack Obama's health care plan and the British health care system. A Twitter campaign backed by a government minister is urging Britons to express their appreciation for its free health service from cradle to grave, which was launched in 1948" (8/13).

The Telegraph reports: "Experts within the NHS condemned the allegations made in speeches and television adverts as half-truths and distortions.... 'The NHS does a damn fine job,' said Dr Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health. 'These claims are complete and utter rubbish'" (Devlin and McElroy, 8/12).

McClatchy / Sacramento Bee reports on comparisons between the U.S. and other countries: "Ask around for the healthiest country in the world, and the United States won't come close to topping the list. People live longer in just about every industrialized nation, from Canada to our north, throughout much of Europe, and around the Pacific in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. New mothers and their babies also face a rockier start here, with U.S. infant and maternal death rates double some of our industrialized peers. As debate swirls in Washington and at town halls nationwide over health care reform, there is also a more fundamental question - what about health? Could policymakers change our medical system in ways that would make America a healthier country?" (Dahlberg, 8/12).

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