THOMAS: The coming Obamacare disaster

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas

The coming Obamacare catastrophe

For years I have been writing about the failures of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) as a warning for what the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) will do to health care here in the U.S.

London's Daily Mail has chronicled the growing problems with the NHS, which include declining quality of care and availability of services coupled with increased costs. This is what is in store for us, if Congress does not repeal Obamacare.

According to the Daily Mail, "NHS hospitals are recruiting Spanish and Portuguese nurses in record numbers while British applicants are being refused because places on training courses have been slashed to cut costs." More than 5,000 student nurse places, it writes, "have been axed since the General Election." The reason? Foreign nurses cost less. Incredibly, they won't be checked to see if they can speak English. The potential for confusion over medication and treatment because of language differences could be significant.

Another Daily Mail story is about Stewart Fleming, a man with severe stomach pains who waited six hours in a hospital cubicle because, according to Andrew Horne, chief executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, "that evening was very busy; the hospital was full." The 37-year-old father of two died.

The Daily Mirror reports that at Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire, 1,200 patients died over a four-year period. No one has been held accountable, but the person in charge of the health authority for part of that time, Sir David Nicholson, was promoted and for two years headed the entire NHS at a substantially higher salary.

In a cruel irony, Donald Berwick, the former U.S. Medicare administrator, who has said, "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open," now heads a committee tasked with preventing the NHS from causing harm to patients. That's easy: get rid of the NHS.

A 2010 column by the Daily Telegraph's Janet Daley ran with the headline, "Copying the NHS is the last thing the U.S. should do." She called instead for a "combination of state provision and private contribution" for health care.

The NHS should have been a lesson for the United States. After promising that Obamacare would not raise insurance costs, we are now seeing the reality. Daniel P. Kessler, a Stanford University professor of law and business, recently noted in the Wall Street Journal: "Despite what you read, premiums in Oregon and California are going up, especially for the young." Other states, should they participate (and many say they won't) will inevitably have the same experience.

The Internal Revenue Service, which will enforce Obamacare's individual and employer mandates, announced in February, according to CNSNews.com, that the "cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000..."

CNBC, citing a survey released by InsuranceQuotes.com, a company that allows people to compare insurance rates, recently reported that 64 percent of uninsured adults say they haven't decided if they will buy insurance by the Jan. 1, 2014, deadline.

What happens here if people begin to experience long waits for treatment, higher costs, fewer doctors and nurses whose English is poor? Will they rebel or passively accept an unworkable system?

Two friends of mine who live in a retirement community in Washington recently told me of a change in their nursing staff. The majority are now from West Africa. This change, they say, has made many residents uncomfortable and uncertain whether the nurses are competent enough to provide the quality of care they have come to expect.

During the Depression and the rise of fascism in Europe, Sinclair Lewis wrote the novel "It Can't Happen Here." It was his warning about how fragile democracy is and how easily it can be replaced by dictatorship. Obamacare has the potential for becoming a type of dictatorship.

The negative consequences from the NHS can happen here and they are on the way, unless Republicans win enough congressional seats next year and then vote to replace Obamacare.

Email nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/calthomas.


kevin 2 years, 4 months ago

Many folks have told me they were happy with Obamacare because the U.S is the last remaining big country that doesn't have socialized medicine. Ha! Can't wait to see what happens after 2014 in this country. Quite a few people are going to be hiding with their tails between their legs and crying. We will see who soon enough.


Mack711 2 years, 4 months ago

Why do you think that so many come from other countries come here for medical care rather than stay in their country? The medical services here are far superior to any other country on this planet, but that is about to change when obama care starts. Those who think obama care will help them will find out when they must pay more for medical care and get less. When they get fined about $3K for not having insurance when they can not afford the premiums for insurance then you will hear the people cry foul but by that time it will be to late. It is, as some have said that, the low infromation voter is the one who will find out that he has been snookered. To late then.


Jan 2 years, 4 months ago

One thing worse than the low information voter is the misinformation voter. With spending on ads misrepresenting the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has far surpassed those for the act. Do some independent research and we find those that do an honest analysis come to the conclusion that the bill will reduce the rate of health care cost increases. For those with poor skills in logic, this means the projected cost of health care without the act would be higher than the cost of health care with the act. Of course improvements could be made to the bill, like including a public option. Medicare has a proven record of more efficient operation than private insurance companies with an overhead cost less than half that of the private sector. Republicans claim to like competition and yet protected the private insurance companies from this competition. Another erroneous point that you seem to believe, very few come here for the purpose of getting health care, especially from countries that offer national health care plans. In fact, many Americans go to other countries for medical procedures, sometimes to acquire services at lower costs, other times for some innovative specialist. Those without insurance are driving up health cost. If they can't afford the premiums, they go to emergency rooms, where they must receive treatment, and the cost is passed on to other patients at the hospital. That makes them freeloaders, I thought you were against freeloaders.


JV 2 years, 4 months ago

IRS officials suspended for taking gifts

Congressional sources identified the two staffers on leave as Fred Schindler and Donald Toda, and said both had been working at the IRS to implement President Obama’s healthcare reform law.



SuxBeanU 2 years, 4 months ago

is this the same governmet that enforces the "do not call list"? If so, then we are all doomed.


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