The Transylvania Times -

Scotland Has Humane Health Care


September 10, 2018

In a recent letter (Sept. 3), Charles Brendle reported on his visit to Scotland and made some comments on the (U.K.’s) government-managed National Health System (NHS) that has been in place there since 1948.

When a tour guide mentioned that the Scots get free health care, medicine and university tuition, Brendle wrote that he had to refrain from saying “It’s not free.”

No, it is not free because people pay taxes, but the benefits the Scots reap from their tax money far exceed what Americans get for our tax dollars, particularly when it comes to health care.

Our excellent government-managed Medi-care program is funded by taxes paid by employees and employers. Medicare is not an entitlement as Republicans claim. Medicare covers 80 percent of charges, leaving 20 percent uncovered unless one buys supplemental insurance. Enter the insurance companies with their high premiums and deductibles. Enter the drug insurance companies with their premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

The Scots don’t have to deal with insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays, nor do they need to worry that medical expenses are going to plunge them into bankruptcy. And they have the option of buying private health insurance.

I would much rather pay taxes to fund a government-managed health care program than be forced to pay excessively high premiums set by insurance companies, or, worse, not to be able to afford health insurance and suffer the consequences – bankruptcy, untreated health conditions, even death.

Last year I spent four hours in our local emergency room. The total cost was $7,500. Medicare paid 80 percent. However, I had not met my full $2,300 supplemental deductible, so I had to pay about $1,500.

When an American friend had a medical emergency, she went to a major hospital in Edinburgh, where she was seen immediately, diagnosed and released. Cost? Zero, even as a non-resident. A Scottish friend recently had open-heart surgery in Edinburgh. Cost? Zero.

Brendle chooses to call Scotland’s NHS “socialism.” I regard it as an efficient, practical and humane system — a model for how health care can and should be managed in the United States.

Pamela Blevins



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