As a newcomer to the United States, I hesitate to criticize my adopted home. However, there are some areas where I believe the United States can learn from Britain. Health care is one of them.
The debate over health-care reform seems to miss many of the important issues, the most important of which is the huge inefficiency of the U.S. system. The U.S government pays as much per person for health care as the British system pays for all public and private health care.
British citizens receive universal health care, free at the point of need, for 15 percent less than an American taxpayer pays for Medicare and Medicaid alone. Those of us who choose to pay for private health care in Britain can choose any doctor or hospital, but the total bill is still less than the total amount paid by the U.S. government for the taxpayer-funded parts of the U.S. system.
If the U.S. health-care system could achieve the same level of efficiency as the British health-care system, we could have universal coverage at no additional cost to the taxpayer. All that is lacking is the political will.