The Democrats first rejected HillaryCare, but then gave Americans ObamaCare

The United Kingdom’s Health Care Mess and Its Implications for a Clinton Presidency

By —— Bio and Archives--February 2, 2015

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Hillary Clinton was clearly disappointed when the health care legislation proposed by the task force she headed was declared dead on arrival when it was submitted to a Democrat controlled Congress on November 30, 1993.  Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s comment that anyone who thought her health care plans would work wasn’t living in the real world served as a fitting epitaph.

As Mrs. Clinton prepares to run for president, she knows that ObamaCare will be a major campaign issue.  The unpopularity of President Obama’s signature piece of legislation was the primary reason for the shellacking the Democrats took in the 2014 Congressional election.  During the campaign Mrs. Clinton will distance herself from ObamaCare by noting that she was not involved in its passage and acknowledging that modifications to the legislation are required.  After winning the presidency and if in doing so she enables the Democrats to regain control of both houses of Congress, she is likely to try to replace ObamaCare.  However, ObamaCare and her previously proposed health care legislation are so similar that HillaryCare is likely to be even more unpopular and unaffordable than ObamaCare.

President Hillary Clinton and Congressional Democrats fearful of the political fallout from a repeal of ObamaCare will have no choice but to double down by replacing ObamaCare with a single payer system modeled on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.  Since this was what First Lady Clinton, President Obama and the leaders of the Democrats in Congress all wanted in the first place, a look at the current state of health care in Britain gives us a vision of what may be in store for the United States if Hillary Clinton becomes the next president.

London has only a single air ambulance helicopter to serve the roughly 10 million people who live in the city and its nearby suburbs.  When the helicopter is in use or out of service, Londoners have to hope that their stroke, heart attack or other emergency requiring immediate medical attention does not occur during rush hours.  Of course getting to a London hospital quickly was of little value to the 4,400 patients who in December 2014 lay in the ambulance outside the emergency room door for between 30 minutes to an hour before they were transferred to the emergency room.  Once inside the emergency room, they waited again, often for more than four hours.  Twelve London hospitals declared “major incidents,” that is, they admitted that they were failing to meet the four hour standard for being seen by an emergency room doctor, and at some hospitals average waits of six hours or longer were commonplace.

In addition to declining standards of care, especially emergency room care, but more generally medical care across the board, the NHS faces significant financial shortfalls.  In an effort to control expenses, the NHS has taken a number of steps to restrict health care such as recently canceling 25 cancer treatments.  In an interview with the Financial Times NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens expressed concern that unless the government provided sufficient funding there would be a “public backlash” against the NHS.  In a January 2015 Ipsos MORI poll, adults across Great Britain were asked to name the issues that would be most important to them in helping to decide whom to vote for in the upcoming general election.  The NHS was the number one issue by a 13 point margin.

The Labour Party created the United Kingdom’s National Health Service in 1948 and they are now hoping that by making health care their primary campaign issue, the widespread dissatisfaction with the NHS will enable them to win the majority of seats in the House of Commons in the upcoming May 7 general election.  It will be interesting to see if Britons unhappy with the NHS will restore to power the party that created the mess to begin with. 

The Democrats first rejected HillaryCare, but then gave Americans ObamaCare.  As President, would Mrs. Clinton take the position that the only way to fix ObamaCare was to create a US National Health Service?  Based on her past actions and statements, it is a pretty good bet that she would try to saddle Americans with the kind of system that is failing to provide quality health care to millions of Britons.

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Al Kaltman -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Al Kaltman is a political science professor who teaches a leadership studies course at George Washington University.  He is the author of Cigars, Whiskey and Winning: Leadership Lessons from General Ulysses S. Grant.

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