World View: Britain Debates Leaving EU amid National Health Service (NHS) Crisis

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Nurses in the accident and emergency dept of Selly Oak Hospital work during a busy shift on March 16, 2010 in Birmingham, England. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that that …
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) existential crisis continues
  • David Cameron hopes to ‘reform’ the EU to avoid British exit (Brexit)
  • Hungary’s PM tells Cameron: ‘Hungarians in UK aren’t parasites’

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) existential crisis continues

David Cameron warned to take 'bold action' to save the National Health Service
David Cameron warned to take ‘bold action’ to save the National Health Service

As we wrote several months ago, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is so deeply in debt that currently unacceptable levels of service are going to have to be cut even more deeply. Staffing will be reduced in hospitals and other providers, and waiting times will be extended from their 18 week time frame. The system is rapidly becoming insolvent.

The system is deeply corrupt, with doctors falsifying records, claiming for work that was never done, or putting in for bogus overtime. Dentistry services are so bad that people are buying “do-it-yourself (DIY) dentistry kits” to take care of their whole families, as was done centuries ago. ( “5-Aug-15 World View — Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) faces existential financial crisis”)

Now 40 leading UK charities have written a letter to Britain’s prime minister David Cameron telling to take “bold” action to save the NHS:

We need to ensure we have an NHS and social care system that is fit for purpose otherwise it is the elderly, disabled people and their carers who will bear the brunt of inaction.

Bold long term thinking is required about the size, shape and scope of services we want the NHS and social care to provide – and an honest debate about how much as a society we are prepared to pay for them.

In many areas, America’s Obamacare system is modeled after the NHS, certainly in spirit if not always in detail, but Obamacare is also facing an existential crisis for financial reasons. As I documented in “ — The greatest software development disaster in history” after several months of research, Medicaid is a financial disaster, the Obamacare exchanges, co-ops and risk corridors are financial disasters, tens of millions of people are effectively uninsured because of astronomical deductibles, and tens of millions of people have been forced into part-time jobs by their employers to avoid Obamacare regulations.

In the same article, I listed some of the well-documented problems in the Veterans Administration (VA) health care system, including fraud, corruption, unbelievably poor services. The VA has something else in common with Obamacare — anyone who complains or who reveals what’s going on is the target of retribution and revenge by Obama administration officials.

In the case of Britain’s National Health Service, the financial disaster is coming at the same time as many of Britain’s other problems, especially the flood of migrants reaching Britain. However, although Syrian refugees are some of the problem, it is worth pointing out that many of the migrants come to the UK perfectly legally, because they are coming eastern European countries within the EU to take advantage of Britain’s welfare and NHS benefits. Yorkshire Post (UK) and Daily Mirror (London)

David Cameron hopes to ‘reform’ the EU to avoid British exit (Brexit)

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron says that he is very close to a deal with European Union leaders in Brussels to reform the EU, so that Britain will remain in the EU.

A couple of years ago, Cameron promised to hold a nationwide referendum in 2016 on whether the UK should exit from the EU (“Brexit”) or stay in the EU, and to abide by the result. No date has yet been fixed for the referendum, but it’s expected in the summer or fall.

The question has been very divisive in British politics, with leaders and ministers in both the Conservative and Labor parties on both sides of the issue. Cameron himself says he strongly favors remaining in a “reformed European Union.” In the current negotiations, Cameron is demanding the following reforms, as listed by the BBC:

  • Economic governance: Securing an explicit recognition that the euro is not the only currency of the European Union, to ensure countries outside the eurozone are not disadvantaged. The UK wants safeguards that it will not have to contribute to eurozone bailouts
  • Competitiveness: Setting a target for the reduction of the “burden” of excessive regulation and extending the single market
  • Immigration: Restricting access to in-work and out-of-work benefits to EU migrants. Specifically, ministers want to stop those coming to the UK from claiming certain benefits until they have been resident for four years.
  • Sovereignty: Allowing Britain to opt out from further political integration. Giving greater powers to national parliaments to block EU legislation.

One senior Conservative party minister said that he and many others in the party would be voting to leave, and he called it “disgraceful” that Cameron isn’t making contingency plans:

It’s a very complicated operation to carry out if it happens.

The sooner the prime minister produces his worthless deal the better – then we can move on to the genuine campaign and the British people can at last have their say and leave the outdated political circus that the EU has become.

Such statements by ministers in Cameron’s own party are actually a help to Cameron in his negotiations with Brussels, since other EU leaders are desperate to avoid Brexit. He can say to the other European leaders, “If you don’t give me a deal that I can sell to my party – really meaningful concessions that the anti-EU camp can’t pick apart – then I’m going to lose this thing.” BBC and Telegraph (London)

Hungary’s PM tells Cameron: ‘Hungarians in UK aren’t parasites’

The most controversial of David Cameron’s “reforms” of the European Union is the proposal to restrict migrants from other EU countries coming to UK to have restricted access to certain welfare and NHS benefits for four years. One of the most vocal opponents is Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán, who is simultaneously on both sides of the issue of migrants.

On the one hand, he has been among the most vocal opponents of Syrian refugees entering the EU, with his right-wing Fidesz party government having been conducting anti-migrant media campaigns against the migrants.

On the other hand, Orbán is a strong advocate of permitting migrants from Hungary to go to freely to Britain and collect benefits there. He said:

We would like to make it very clear that we are not migrants into the United Kingdom.

We are citizens of a state that belongs to the European Union, who can take jobs anywhere, freely, within the European Union.

We do not want to go to the UK and take away something from them. We don’t want to be parasites. We want to work there. And I see that Hungarians are working very well.

Those Hungarians that are working well and contributing to the UK economy, they should get respect and they should not suffer discrimination.

At a joint press conference with Cameron, Orbán said: “I am open to other solutions… and I am confident we can reach an agreement.” BBC and Independent (London)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Britain, David Cameron, National Health Service, NHS, Obamacare, Veterans Administration, Hungary, Viktor Orbán, Fidesz, Syria
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