We want this for our mothers? 

Demands for the federal government to assume an even greater role in managing the American health care system are heard almost incessantly from Democratic politicians (and some GOPers as well) and across the mainstream media. But evidence continues to pile up that Europe’s "single-payer" — i.e. socialized — health care systems are anything but the patient utopias promised by advocates here.

In Britain, for example, journalist Jeremy Vine came away with a new perspective on this issue after his wife delivered their daughter and he participated in an exposé for Panaroma TV of the National Health Service’s maternity wards.

The exposé included weeks of undercover video recorded by a reporter working as an unpaid volunteer. What Vine and his colleagues found was "truly frightening."

You can read it on the Internet at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=452056&in_page_id=1879.

What you will find is indeed a frightening look inside a government-run system marked by bureaucratic inefficiency, management arrogance and ineptitude, equipment shortages and scarce supplies.

Despite government promises that every mother-to-be would have access to a qualified midwife, Vine found the system is short 3,000 qualified midwives and many of its facilities are so poorly staffed and operated, and overwhelmed with laboring mothers as Britain’s population grows, that the doors often have to be closed temporarily.

As a result, it is not uncommon for women in heavy labor to find themselves sitting in hard plastic chairs in public corridors seen by any passers-by.

But even those lucky enough to remain in a suitable delivery room throughout their labor often find themselves forgotten soon after the blessed moment has passed. An Oxford University report found that two-thirds of the women delivering their babies in NHS maternity wards said they felt abandoned by the professional staff, according to Vine.

No wonder a university professor who viewed the video taken by the undercover reporter described conditions inside the maternity wards as "third world." That’s the way it always is with promised utopias coming from government programs. Advocates never tire of making the grandiose promises, but the reality always turns out to be a horror story for the rest of us. That’s no way to run a health care system.

Gov. Schwarzenegger, are you listening?

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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