No Room In The Maternity Ward?

Today some righties are hyperventilating about a story in the Daily Mail — “Father delivered baby after partner was turned away from NHS hospital - TWICE.” A laboring woman in the UK was sent home because, she was told, there were no beds available in the hospital. Eventually her husband delivered the baby at home.

The British National Health Service has big problems that, as I understand it, stem less from the system itself than from massive underfunding of the system. Brits have been trying to get by on the cheap, and it shows. To illustrate, here is Figure One from the University of Maine’s “The U.S. Health Care System: The Best in the World, or Just the Most Expensive?” (PDF).

The figure shows spending for health care per capita in various nations, in 1998. I added “USA” and “UK.” In 1998, the U.S. was spending $4,178 per capita and the UK was spending $1,461 per capita. I understand that in recent years the Brits have been increasing their spending on NHS, but it takes a long time to make up for years of underfunding.

I bring this up because one cannot fairly compare the U.S. and U.K. systems without considering the funding issue. This does not, of course, stop righties from comparing them.

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