My older son, who lives in the UK, read my post and would like to add the following:
"The NHS was formally founded by a Labour politician (Aneurin Bevan) in 1948, although the Conservatives produced the first white paper on the viability of it in 1944. Good history of it can be found here:
Also, Labour greatly increased funding the NHS and improved a number of issues - the issue many people have is whether that money was well spent and if we got value for money as there were a number of schemes, such as private finance initiatives (PFIs) which were good for drawing in private investment but not good value for the public purse.
Even now the NHS budget is increasing more or less in line with inflation but costs are increasing as more and more people get diseases of wealth such as heart disease and diabetes and as the population ages. This has combined with recent studies following some poor heath outcomes which have concluded that care, especially specialised care units such as neurology or neonatal care, is better in large centralised "centres of excellence". These two factors have driven some of the closures of some local hospitals with services being moved to larger ones.
However, now a number of trusts are going bankrupt now under the burden of PFI debts which were set up mostly by the previous Labour government, although the practice first stated under the last Conservative government which went out in 1997. This is also allowing administrators to consolidate services in novel ways, including contracting in the private sector, which is generating a lot of controversy over here, as is the implementation of the Health Bill which is a massive and fundamental change to how the NHS is structured, which passed only this year.
Anyway, I thought you might be interested - I should point out that while things here are not ideal, there is still no question of how superior the system, however flawed, is to the US one. Here you will never go bankrupt for having the audacity to catch cancer, or get hit by a car. My kids will live without knowing that fear and I greatly value this and am constantly reminding people here to appreciate what they have."
There it is, folks. Please mull it over dispassionately and see how far we have to go to catch up with our "Mother Country." Finally in expectation of the election, I will not tell you how to vote but, urged by my son, who thinks it would be a good idea, I will tell you whom I will vote for and why. I am voting for President Obama. He has put through a reluctant Congress a significant improvement to our health care system. We still have far to go on it, and nothing more will be done if we let money interests control our government to the exclusion of "we the people," but we have a start. The Congress has blocked his way at every turn, but the economic measures he was able to put through in spite of Republican opposition kept us from going into a second Great Depression. He rescued the auto industry and has received preciously little thanks for it. He has done much to begin to heal the damage done in the last sixty years to American standing around the world by our blundering, uninformed, and hegemonic foreign policy. He has put an end to the war in Iraq, which began under false pretenses and has accomplished nothing to increase world security. He has shown solid, mature leadership in the wake of horrible Hurricane Sandy. He is a professed Christian believer. I have been disappointed by his weakness for the perks of power, which have led him to persecute breaches of "security" which have revealed nothing that would put our country in danger, only matters that embarrass those in power. I am also alarmed that under his administration we still hold Americans indefinitely and deny them, if accused of terrorism, the rights guaranteed under the constitution. This is extremely dangerous ground as it can lead to your or my being imprisoned for political reasons merely by virtue of being classed as terrorism suspects. This has happened over and over in other countries and it can happen here. His opponent, however, will clearly do nothing to address those problems just mentioned, but the President may in his second term. Govern Romney's prescription for dealing with the housing issue, which precipitated the crisis under the Bush administration, was to "do nothing and let the market hit bottom." That was essentially Herbert Hoover's response to the crisis of 1930, which was very similar in nature and that's what they did. Result: the Great Depression. Romney has said practically nothing of what he will do to accomplish his promises. He has changed positions on many issues 180º. This means that no one can have any idea of what he will actually do if elected. Ryan, the vice-presidential nominee, promises to take a high profile role. He belongs to the extreme right, which is every bit as lacking a hold on reality and every bit as dangerous, as any extreme left faction (of which we have none at present in our country). What will happen if the current trend of concentrating all the country's wealth in the 1% is that the middle class will dry up and most of us will slide into the lower class. The ultra rich account for very little job creation. It's small business that is our biggest employer, followed by local governments and then the federal government. All these people pay taxes and buy big and small ticket items. Eliminate these sources of work and we will become a poor populace. All I ask you is to think about these matters as you cast your vote and then vote as you wish. It is your right and the right of every American.