Yesterday was a big occasion in the USA: it’s the time of the year when the Prez makes his State Of The Union address. Barack Obama addressed both houses of Congress, and the judges of the Supreme Court, for a full seventy minutes, so today the papers on both sides of the Atlantic have been poring over the content.
And weighing in for the Maily Telegraph has been Janet Daley. Who she? Who indeed. Her column is supremely muddle headed on the subject of healthcare, although, given that her CV features some time spent in the USA, you might expect a clearer grasp of the issues: this tells you that the subject really is a thorny one.
The place to focus is on the second paragraph. Here, Daley tells that healthcare reform “had now become health insurance reform”. Well, well. This may be due to the nature of the US system, which is built around insurance. She then tells of there being no more talk of “a genuinely nationalised healthcare programme”. Nothing gets past Ms Daley, does it?
Except that there never was an attempt to produce a national, or nationalised, programme – certainly not on the lines of the NHS. And, as with any critique of Obama’s attempts to reform healthcare, there is no mention of the inconvenient fact that the USA spends almost twice as much on healthcare as a percentage of GDP as the UK, for outcomes that are almost universally less good – even if only marginally.
That isn’t good enough – but if the folks over in the USA want something that isn’t good enough, that’s their call.