Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is often held up by American leftists as the pinnacle of healthcare. While the right has warned that these healthcare systems lead to rationing, the left pretends this isn't an issue. What would they call, then, what's happening right now? There is so much need for medical care in Britain in the present "winter crisis" that NHS England is telling officials to postpone non-urgent surgeries to make room for emergency patients. This delay will be in place until at least the end of the month and, Yahoo! reports, will impact more than 50,000 patients.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says "It is absolutely not what I want," while NHS England Director James Keough warns that the worst may be yet to come as there are "early signs" of flu spreading through hospitals.
Meanwhile, wait times in emergency rooms have skyrocketed to 36 hours in some hospitals. While many argue (always ignoring Medicare) that the American insurance market distinguishes between the haves and the have-nots, this is immeasurably worse in countries with a single-payer system. In the United States, most people have some form of healthcare that allows them to be seen by doctors. In the United Kingdom, everyone has healthcare which allows them to wait. The very wealthy, however, can afford to pay both the oppressive taxation that grants them this privilege and the cost of private insurance which gets them what the average American has. It is the public hospitals that are having these issues, not the private ones. The wealthy still have their healthcare in Britain, while everyone else waits.
What do you call it when someone in charge decides who needs a limited resource and doles it out accordingly? Ah, that's right: rationing.