Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dan Hannan at it again (on NHS!)

Dan, Dan, Dan Hannan, the gift that keeps on giving. So here we are again. This time he's placed himself in front of the cameras again for US libertarian outfit, Campaign for Liberty. Let's all watch together then discuss:

Did you enjoy the frames of Hitler when he was talking about the establishment of the NHS? Very stylish and clever. Remember, healthcare reform in the US is Nazi- lots of people say so like these people and these. Nicely done, Campaign for Liberty.

So what can we say of Dan Hannan? Well, you could say he's extremely naive to allow himself to be used in this way- a useful idiot for the American Right just like Viscount Christopher Monckton, for example (in his case, it was all a communist conspiracy- shift the labels, same concept.) I'd be amazed if Dan Hannan saw the footage that accompanied his words. He can't have done, surely?

But away from the theatrics and symbolism, there is a point of substance. He states (using very selective data that he doesn't even bother to back up):
"You know we're not the worst in the developed world, but the United Kingdom does pretty badly."
Well, let's compare the UK and US using OECD data (UK and USA):

- The UK has 2.5 physicians per 1000 people, 10 nurses per 1000, 2.6 acute care beds per 1000, a life of expectancy of 79.1 years, and an infant mortality rate of 4.8 per 1000.
- The US has 2.4 physicians per 1000, 10.6 nurses per 1000, 2.7 acute beds per 1000,life expectancy was 78.1 years, and an infant mortality rate of 6.7 per 1000.

Most people would say that the UK was marginally better than the US overall with the exception of infant mortality where it was considerably better. Why? Because infant mortality is heavily correlated with poverty and an unequal healthcare system- like the US has.

BUT the big difference? There was one stat that I left out. That is the cost of healthcare. For a healthcare system that is comparable but worse in significant ways, the US has to spend a whopping 16% of its GDP. We pay 8.4% of GDP.

So Dan Hannan can allow himself to used as a pawn in the US healthcare debate all he likes using selective data and unsupported assertion as he goes but he is doing his country down and completely off target.

I like Dan Hannan immensely. It's like having Christmas a dozen a times a year- whenever he opens his mouth basically. Keep it coming, please.


  1. This Hannan cove is quite exuberantly ill-informed about the origins of the NHS. He also avoids the fact that the NHS is having to deal with the completely gratuitous problems created by the creeping privatizations of the past 30 years.

  2. If we could get rid of the noise (Michelle Bachmann, every broadcast on Fox News, whoever Dan Hannan is) we could actually have an informed debate about the topic. Healthcare in the US is great - for the lucky few who have it. For every person railing against reform and screaming to have the gov't "take their hand off" - wait until your employer no longer can afford to pay your premium.