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Tuesday 16 November 2010

Healthcare – Where No Means Yes

You may not have heard of Andy Harris before. After today, you may never hear from him again. Harris is one of the House’s new intake, having won in eastern Maryland for the Republicans. He stood on, among other issues, repealing Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms.

So it might be thought that Harris would be against Government mandated healthcare. But then, he arrived at the Capitol and found that his subsidised healthcare would not start until 28 days after taking office. He was not pleased. And then he asked if he could buy insurance from the Government to cover the 28 day gap.

Government health insurance? But that was what the so-called “public option” was about, and Harris had been against that. Fortunately his spokesman was on hand to apply a little spin: this, it was explained, was not a display of hypocrisy, just Harris pointing out that Government mandated healthcare was inefficient.

And as to Harris’ question asking what he would do without 28 days’ healthcare, well, there are tens of millions of US citizens who would be able to answer that one for him: they’re the ones who have to manage without healthcare for 365 days of the year, every year.

Remember, the USA spends almost twice as much of its annual GDP on healthcare as the UK, and gets less good results. I may restate that fact more than once in the future.

[One more minor fact: Harris’ day job is in, er, healthcare]

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