Friday’s Labor Folklore  
Con Carbon, Minstrel of the Mine Patch

The British 
National Health Service


The National Health Service (NHS) is the comprehensive public-health service established in England in 1946 under the guiding principle that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. Virtually the entire population of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is covered, and health services are free except for certain minor charges.  
Health care is provided by a single payer – the British government – and is funded by the taxpayer.  All appointments and treatments are free to the patient; the maximum cost of receiving any drug prescribed by the NHS is approximately $11.  
The National Health Service is financed primarily by general taxes, with smaller contributions coming from local taxes, payroll contributions, and patient fees. The service has managed to provide generally high levels of health care while keeping costs relatively low, but the system has come under increasing financial strain because the growth of medical technology has tended to make hospital stays progressively more expensive.
Britain ranks above the U.S. in most health measurements.  Its citizens have a longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality rate. Britain achieves these results while spending proportionally less on health care than the U.S.
[Sources, from which I quoted extensively, are:
Britannica Online Encyclopedia; Time online essay by Eben Harrell, London, 8/18/2009;; and Wikipedia — the editor.]


Joel Wood and Lia Hatzakis
Joel and Lia, two British You Tube stars, explain why they like their country’s National Health Service.
“The NHS (National Health Service) is of huge importance to us here in the UK! We can’t imagine life without a national healthcare system and we’re so proud of it.”  

Ninety-one year old war veteran Harry Smith explains to the 2014 Labor Party Conference what life was like before Britain’s national public health service was established.
“Election Day 1945 was one of the proudest days in my life.  I felt that I was finally getting a chance to grab destiny by the shirt collar.  And that is why I voted Labour and for the creation of the NHS.”