Healthcare: U.S. vs. NHS

A question frequently asked of anyone who’s lived in the United Kingdom is how the healthcare system across the Pond compares to the one over here. Indeed the National Health Service (NHS) as it’s known in the United Kingdom has come under repeated attacks by critics of U.S. President Barack Obama’s health reform plans. So much so that this week U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown used Downing Street’s Twitter site to hit back at those critics who had dubbed the NHS “evil†. “NHS often makes the difference between pain and comfort, despair and hope, life and death. Thanks for always being there. #welovetheNHS,† Brown tweeted. As a result, #welovetheNHS has risen to the top of trending topics on Twitter. While the debate continues on healthcare reform the London Guardian’s Datablog yesterday answered the question of how the NHS compares to U.S. healthcare by posting a chart showing some key indicators on healthcare from countries in the G8 as well as Cuba and China, sourced from the World Health Organization (WHO). While it’s wise to remember that numbers tell a story but hardly ever the whole story, we note that among other things the chart indicates that U.S. per capita spending on healthcare is more than double that of the U.K. yet life expectancy in the U.S. is two years younger than across the Pond. Draw your own conclusions and check out I.I.I. facts and stats on health insurance.

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