One man’s experience of “socialized medicine” (the horror!)

Conservatives in the US keep evoking the specter of “socialized medicine” in any discussion about health care reform. Sure, I could point that that France has healthier, longer-living people at half the per capita cost of health care in the US. But that would require abstract thought and the comprehension of data.

For your narrative friends who oppose health care reform, I give you this story of one man’s sustained encounter with Britain’s National Health Service. Stephen Bates writes in the Guardian

Of all the thoughts that flashed through my mind as I fell from 15ft up a ladder one morning last May, the potential financial cost of my unexpected descent was not one. I had been trying to paint the weatherboard above the bedroom windows of our house; a whim that had occurred to me in the middle of the night (as these things do) while working out chores for my week’s holiday. Unfortunately, I reached just a little too far on a ladder just a little too short, and suddenly felt it slide from under me. Bouncing off the wall, knocking off the guttering and a carriage lamp in the process, I eventually collapsed in an inelegant heap on top of the ladder.

Read his whole story for the good and the bad of his encounter. It’s quite an honest story, with some allowance for ways in which care in the US excels. Mostly though, it undercuts every one of the horror stories that Republicans want you to believe about national health systems.

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