Thursday, August 23, 2012

Debating NHS With a Brit

In Lomita, near Rolling Hills Estates, I took time to hash out major ideas with an airline pilot from British Airways.

He was visiting the area during a stopover, and so he was out cycling in the area.

He noticed that I was at working going over books and other things relating to political and economic matters.I had asked him if he was a voter in the area, when he told me that he was just visiting.

Later on, he came up to ask me what I had against the candidate I was trying to get out of office -- Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles). I mentioned that he was the chief architect for ObamaCare, the largest tax increase in history, and an entitlement which was causing premiums to go up while forcing access and quality down.

From the moment that we started talking, he came out swinging, indicting this country for providing poor health care and leaving so many uninsured, while in the United Kingdonm, everyone has access to health care through the National Health Service.

The major argument which supported my point about the failures of the NHS: He was privately ensured.

Most Britons cannot make a direct comparison between their system and other socialized systems in the Western world. Perhaps the  nationalist sentiment which pushes a man to champion his country, even if the choices and policies are unacceptable, blinds a man from making the frank and necessary indictments against systems which do not work.

From our discussion about the role of the state in healthcare, he brought up another set of issues which tends to divide political minds across the Atlantic. The role of the state in providing for the less fortunate among us, for example. Like many who believe that the state should provide more to everyone at a cost to everyone, he used terms like "fairness" and "society" without bothering to define them. He also believed that "society" had a role play in the well-being of every citizen. Because he had failed to define these terms, however, or rather because he assumed that this "mythical" structures had any prominence worth considering, it was apparent that the bias which makes these discussions difficult or tedious would not be easily resolved.

Still, it was a fruitful discussion in many ways, one which permittted me to commend the United Kingdom for enacting policies which discourage frivolous lawsuits, even if the record on socialized medicine is hardly commendable. I was both suprised and impressed to hear that he opposed "gay marriage" and "abortion" on religious as well as practical grounds, convinced that life begins at conception, and that the definition of marriage is not open for debate. In constrast, I had expected this individual to have a more liberal attitude toward these social issues, yet he adhered to a more conservative line, nonetheless.

More dialogues like the one which I had engaged in with this British airline pilot would help bring much-needed clarity to policy and current issues in our countries. The more informed our electorate, the more likely we will witness a more responsive political class which will not take its constituencies for granted.

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