Rob Delaney was born on January 19, 1977 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Catastrophe (2015), Life After Beth (2014) and Bra League (2012). The following is his open letter about NHS and why it beats US healthcare hands down.
"I am not the smartest person in the world, nor even close to the smartest person I know. Nor have I visited the vast majority of countries on this magnificent planet.
But I did happen to move from the US to the UK two and a half years ago at the age of 37, i.e. after almost four decades of inhabiting an incredibly hairy human body.
Thus I’ve had a good deal of experience as a patient, or as they call you in the US, a consumer of American healthcare before moving to the UK to experience the NHS for two-plus years as a father of three, a husband of a woman whose reproductive system is more glorious and has more complex needs than my own, and as a person whose own body is subject to the ravages of gravity, time, and secret Oreo milkshakes from Five Guys.
What I’m getting at is that I’m in a pretty good position to speak with some degree of clarity on the NHS as it compares to the American healthcare system.
And here’s the verdict: the NHS is superior . That isn’t to say it’s perfect; no healthcare system is or can be. People (myself included) have and will continue to complain about their healthcare, wherever they receive it, because medicine is treating your body, or your loved one’s body.
It is not performing the far less important and less fraught tasks of selling you a car or fixing your mobile’s broken screen or painting your house or making you a sandwich (though to be fair both the NHS or UCLA Santa Monica Hospital in Los Angeles will make you a reasonably good sandwich if you have to stay in hospital).
Medicine is treating your body! Your hearing, your intestines, your tits! Sometimes even your… nodes! The delicacy of this, and the emotions involved are going to leave you with a mixed bag of feelings, even if you achieve the optimal results of whatever it is you went in for.
I should also make clear that I’m comparing the US healthcare system with the NHS of today. The NHS constantly in the headlines for being cash-strapped and worse than it was in the past .
Is it? It sounds to me like it is, but I don’t personally know, and that’s not the purpose of this piece. The purpose of this piece is to tell you that the NHS of this exact moment in 2017 is better that the private healthcare systems in the US.
(I have to pluralize “systems” because there is, sadly, no one unified “system” in the US, much to the detriment of so many millions of Americans. I must also make clear that most Americans receive their healthcare privately, unlike the U.K.)
How is it better? I will say right away that just like in the UK, my loved ones and I have received generally very good medical care in the US. The American doctors and nurses are mostly kind people, working hard, sincerely interested in helping others.
Unfortunately these doctors and nurses are paid with money the hospital receives from health insurance companies. And health insurance companies are motivated by profit, not by successfully setting your broken shoulder or curing your daughter’s leukemia.
Those results aren’t discussed in their shareholders’ calls. And insurance companies don’t pay for all your care either.
My wife and I, who had what’s considered excellent insurance in the US, received bills for about $1,300 after each of our first two kids were born. When we were in the US on holiday recently, our youngest required an emergency ultrasound on his kidneys.
As we’ve been in the UK for years now, we don’t have American health insurance anymore and I had to pay a $500 deposit before they would do the test. On my baby’s kidneys. In the richest country in the world, in which I still pay plenty of taxes as a citizen.
The main point is this: if our bodies and minds are connected as modern medicine insists, the stress one feels as an American worrying about how you’ll pay for your healthcare – or whether you can even get it – shortens your life and reduces its quality much more than the wait for knee replacement surgery on the NHS does.
I used knee replacement surgery as an example because if you need emergency surgery on your brain or your heart, you won’t wait on the NHS; you’ll have world-class doctors doing their best to fix you right away.
Fifteen years ago, I had to max out two credit cards and borrow a third from mom to pay for surgery to put a pin in a broken wrist after a car accident. (My insurance company had dropped my coverage after the accident because I was generating too many bills for them.
That was 100 per cent legal before the Affordable Care Act, aka 'Obamacare', came into effect. The Obamacare which President-Elect Trump and the Republican Congress have pledged to repeal, mind you.
Now before you send me flowers because you agree so vehemently with what I’ve written, or alternately, to tell me via Twitter to make love to myself because an NHS doctor once sewed your arm back on upside down, nobody asked me to write this and I have nothing to gain from it.
I’m just a (nearly) forty-year-old comedian who does a graceful, elaborate jig every time my wife or kids or I visit a GP, an A and E, a birth centre, or an operating theatre and don’t have to worry if we’ll A) receive the care we need or B) be able to afford it, even if we have insurance.
Americans forego care and medicine that their physicians prescribe, because of cost. They also commit suicide because of medical debt. It’s hard to hold in one’s mind the idea that those things can and do happen in a country as wealthy as the United States.
I hesitate to end this piece with a call to action, though I know what I’d do if I were a UK citizen and something as remarkable as the NHS were under threat. I pay taxes here too, but I’m not British, so it’s up to you, if you care.
I wouldn’t wish sickness on anyone, but you might consider imagining yourself or your child moving or traveling to the US and getting sick or being in an accident.
Then imagine that already miserable experience magnified because you’re marinating in the fear that you won’t be able to pay for your care. Or maybe you can with a credit card, but then you can’t keep up with the payments so you begin to receive aggressive phone calls from the company the hospital sold your debt to. Maybe you get taken to court.
If that’s not something you’d like to experience, and you think the NHS of today is closer to that scenario than the NHS of ten years ago, or if you think that there are those in government or on the boards of private healthcare corporations who might be okay with that sort of future unfolding, what might you do about it? Anything?"
Julie Davies wrote this to Iain McNicol:
Yesterday I was a delegate at the London Labour conference. Although I have been in the party for many years this was actually the first Party conference I have been sent to by my CLP.
I have attended NUT conference since 1997 and have served on the NEC of my union for eight years. During this time I was vice chair of its Organisation and Administration standing committee. The department serving the committee (headed for some years by Lucy Anderson) is responsible for organising annual conference and for the rules of the union. I have also been a delegate to the TUC conference.
I’m sorry to say I was profoundly shocked by yesterday’s London Labour conference. It was terribly disorganised, leaving it open to security breach, fraudulent voting and personation. Apart from the catering, every bit of it fell short of the standards I would have expected.
Confirmation that I was registered as a delegate arrived on November 7 containing just an agenda. The conference pack arrived by email at 1.00pm the day before the conference. It contained no standing orders or conference credential. We were sent candidates' information and three composited motions with no explanation about the way in which they were to be debated or whether they were open to amendment. (Were they? We tried to find out. Len Duvall didn’t know.)
Registration for the conference was shambolic. Business started forty five minutes late because there were not enough staff on the desk. Delegates and guests queued in the rain.
No checks were made on identity. Anybody could have walked in off the street and claimed a credential. There was no security over the issuing of ballot papers. These were piled up on the table in front of the queue and it would have been very easy to grab one, or even a handful, and vote. I was shocked by the potential security risks of the whole set up, throughout the day, too. Has the Party learned nothing from the death of Jo Cox?
There were five delegates from my CLP but it became apparent that only the first to arrive would be issued with a ballot paper. (This explained why it was that one of our local rightwingers was at the front of the queue at 7.30 in the morning, in the rain. Because why else would anybody do that? Honestly?) As it was, our delegation sat together and filled in the ballot with the names of the people nominated by the CLP, but the system was open to abuse. How many other delegations did what we did? How can the party be confident in the outcome of the election it ran yesterday? I’m certainly not. And if only one person votes, why send five people?
There were no standing orders. We were informed that there were some, but for some reason these would be sent to us after the conference. I am used to the first business of conference being the adoption of standing orders so that all those present know what to expect and how to engage.
If there is one place where Citrine rules should be followed, surely, it’s a Labour conference. The ‘debate' was little more than an open mike session. Two motions were debated at once. The chair varied the order of business without asking for a show of hands and the voting that did take place was desultory. It was unnecessary anyway. The three motions were so anodyne after compositing that they were barely worth voting for. It isn’t a debate if there are no amendments and nobody says a single word against. Surely we can do better than that if we’re serious about any of our conferences setting, or steering, Party policy? (I think I’ve just answered my own question, haven’t I?)
There was no real distinction between voting delegates and observers; I’m used to observers having different coloured cards and sitting separately in the hall but then I’m also used to voting that makes a difference and genuine debate.
There are a lot of new people in the party and our practices should be seen to be scrupulous, efficient, inclusive and democratic. We have the resources to organise events like this properly and we should use them.
I look forward to your response on the points I have made.
Charlotte Persephone Smith is a Jeremy Corbyn supporter and Saturday as she celebrated Jeremy's re-election as Labour Party leader she shared this open letter, which as you can see is supported by many others:
I am so happy that you have been re-elected as leader of the Labour Party.
As a party, because of you we are stronger than ever before. To win with 61.8% of the vote, a bigger mandate than last year just proves how popular you are and it proves how much the membership want you as our leader for 'straight talking honest politics'. Since being re-elected as leader of the Labour Party, me and my friends have witnessed many people wanting to join Labour. For many you are our only hope for a fair society that cares for all, rather than a few.
Throughout your leadership campaign you have gone from strength to strength. You have shown to be passionate, caring and committed. You have made Labour into the left-wing caring party it should be. A party that truly cares about the ordinary people in society. The disabled, the elderly, the working class, children, students, the sick and the most vulnerable.
Like you, I hope everyone in the party will respect the results and I hope they will respect the massive mandate which led you to victory. Together under your leadership, Labour can take on the Tories and can wipe out austerity, privatisation, neoliberalism and evil greed.
I do hope that the Labour MPs that are against you will either stand by you and your policies or simply leave the Labour Party. They have got to realise that it is you we want to take us into number 10 in 2020.
Speaking about respect, I do hope that you will take the time to welcome back all of your comrades who have been unfairly purged and suspended by the biased NEC. Even though we are very happy with the results many of us feel like the forgotten thousand, simply because we were cut off for supporting you and your vision for a credible Labour government.
I honestly believe that if we all stick together you can win the next general election and be Prime Minister. Since becoming leader of the Labour Party Labour has gone from 200,000 voters to the biggest political party ever in Europe. And it's the Labour membership along with yourself that makes Labour a party I'm happy to be in and fight for. A socialist party that cares for all rather than a few. A party that has its old traditional Labour values back.
I would also like to thank your campaign group and all those standing by you within the Labour Party, like John McDonnell who has helped you achieve Labour’s aims and values to improve everyone's standard of living in a country we love so very much.
Since becoming leader of the Labour Party you have forced the Tories to U-turn on taking £4.6 billion from the disabled, making cuts to working tax credits, and you have forced them to U-turn on making all schools academies. These are only a few things you have forced the evil Tories to U-turn on. At your first ever local election as leader, Labour overtook the Tories and won all four mayoral contests.
This week Labour gained seats all over the country from the Tories. Another outstanding result.
I have been so proud to support you, and will do what ever it takes to get you into number 10. You are a leader for the people.
You are our leader, and the best man for our Labour Party.
Charlotte Persephone Smith
And fellow comrades...
Fran McGowan, Annmarie Collins, Michelle Gibson, Jean Meech, Marika Thatcher, Michael MacDonell, Barry Naylor, Ellie Carroll, Cath Travis, Dave Hogg, Alison Lord ( Lally Laud), Jodie Chambers, Dale Latimer, Julie Graham, Samantha Berry, Toby Ray, Christopher Bainbridge, David Taylor, David Corrigan, James Kelso, Heather Scott, Merlina Waterworth, Jayne Freeman. James Rosen, Janet Hooper, Andrea Knight, Jo Burns, Samantha Davies, Stella Kay-Cole, Eamonn A Fountain, Sarah Jane, Sally Llewellyn, Isaac Marshall, Cristina Velasco Gázquez, Claudia Calvino, Catherine McGregor, Sue Lambert, Gill Davies, John Peers, Caroline Collins, Adrian Jenkins, Dave Leonard, Saffron Lisa Coulthard, Joyce Sheppard, James Tucker, Anna Marangi, Mike Hargreaves, Mags Oliver, Diane Steels, Hannah Slade, Andrea Elliott Denham, Donna Sloane, Ella Jo, Mary Jackson, Phil Vellender, Jacques Venter, Niamet Ali, Brandon Fox, Ed Clarke, Bev Hussien, Beverley Bryan, Emma Grover, Saira Afzal, Geoff Jelly, AnnaDora Soapsud, Tina Clayton, Sam Ballington, Greta Dee, Grant James, Jake Todhunter, George Marshall Black, Mike Cowley, Stephen Clay, Elaine Tiffin, Cath Quinn, Martin Duce, David Page, Samantha Messer, Keith Winter, Em Rainey, Geraldine Mason, Mike Shepard, Vicki Lackenby, Ann Flowers, Clare Richardson, Gareth P Hughes, John Riggins, Alan Gibbons, Shirley Dent, Tony Foster, Dianne Aslett, Maryann Gallagher, Phil Buyum Jackson, Stephen Lavery, Charlie Avent, Jan Welham, Margaret Harrison, Diane Soulsby Moulding, Anne Clarke, Shams Rehman, Kay Green, Nasir Khan, Chirag Suvarna, Wain Evans, Nicola Daniels, Connor Duncan, Stephanie Grant, Kaley Clark, Huge Hugh Wilde, Natasha Blondell, Darren Daley, Jay Sutherland, John Mullen, Anna Miller, Louisa Crawford, Sharon Gregory, Leo Bronstein, Jo Hoyle, Norbert Lawrie, Rik Newt, Philip Stephens, Glenn Martin, Doug Troup, Paul Johnson, Lisa Ann Ash, Sue Ball, Linda Webb, Patrick Pagan, James Mountford, Nigel Barnacle, Alan Falconer, Ann-Marie Westran, Ang Langley, Sophia Fragapane, Linda Webb, Linda Vaux, Julie Reid, Georgie Harrison, Alwyn Davies, Mandy Longmuir, Tom Hogg, Allan Drummond, Nicola Mason, Catherine Crosby, Nadia Ermilova, Peter Bates, Sue Petersen, Diane Varty, Lisa McConnell, Lee 'Slacks' Rowe, Shirley Lancaster, Linda Irvine, Claudine Cole, Abbie Chrysella Moss, Simon Duckett, Sue Brock, Sean Brogan, Andrew Upton, Kay Meades, Craig Truscott, Liz R-c, Mike Collins, Howard Thorp, Rodney Collett, Michael Clarke, Ian Beeston, Emma Rayson, Jill Westendorp, Cheryl Pidgeon, Les Smith, Moh Aladin, Ashy Giovanni, Deb Grinnell, Lucy Ferrets Brown, Jean Louca, Jane Lauppen, Sylvia Tempest, Answer Rashid, Aida Aida, Jens Larsen, Lynne Hook, Laura Quigley, Paul Oakes, John Fitzpatrick, Betty Farruggia, Angela Rai, Jim Coll, Mandy Wildman, Maureen Mooney, Esther Bolton, Carrie Nesbitt-Larking, Virginia Keyes, Sandra Bowes-rennox, Jean Andrew, Jean Jones, Mairead Tagg, Rosalie Duffy Hagart, Vicki Salmi, Antony Fenwick, Pippa Bramley, Victoria Strachan, George Watt, Faye McCardle, Jackie Stapleton, Lesley Hollinshead, David Clarke, Christine Suckley, Shelly Beaumont, Wendy Mcmillan, Matt Roper, Heidi Roper, John Parrington, Carolyne Darmanin, Deborah Jane Pearson, Katie Rawson, Kevin Donnellon, Emma Lorraine Coulling, Stephen Kennedy, John Milburn, Andrew Bardy, Jean Sudhurst, Jeanne Millinson, Dee Willis, Brian Dash, Amanda Collingridge, Tilly Pip, Louise Regan, Christina Edwards, Sean Doyle, Karen Johnson, Andrew Cooper, Gill Knowles, June Martin, Andy Fraser, Mark Raven, Matthew Wilson, Manjit Gill, Paul McLean, Kath Langley, Lisa Bell, Mandy Jane, Jade Wheeler, Alex Ivancevic, Christian Randolph Robertshaw, Martin E Butler, Calvin Fowler, Warren Hardy, Katie Kate Aubrey, Ian Kennedy, Martin Duce, Christina Penn, Stephen Nuttall, Chris York, Michael Bentley, Val Colvin and Eileen Kersey
So the anti Corbyn machinery is going into overdrive as the end of the contest draws near.
I see they’ve wheeled out Neil Kinnock again with a whole panorama programme for him to rant and rave and doom and gloom about Jeremy Corbyn so brace yourselves for that and it seems that Dispatches over on Channel 4 have used their selective media techniques and journalistic tricks to try and paint momentum as some sort of hard left infiltrators hell bent on destroying democracy; fortunately those of you who have recently joined momentum and attended their meetings will know the real picture.
They are well organised and have an agenda to support Jeremy, but he needs organised support to fight against his detractors.
From Hillary Benn first appearing to tell us all that although Jeremy is a decent chap, he isn’t a leader, the irrelevant vote of no confidence led by Margaret Hodge, the staged resignations, homophobic and anti-Semitic smears, all the vitriolic articles fed to the right-wing press and the forced leadership rerun.
Wheeling in the so called big guns of Kinnock, Miliband and Gordon Brown to try and convince us.
Shutting down CLP meetings and disenfranchising new members and charging them £25 to vote, and the members being labelled Trots, bullies, militants, Nazis, anti-Semitic and heaven knows what else were all highly planned and organised by Campbell, Mandelson and other Blairite bigwigs propped up and supported by Portland.
If not for momentum helping the members to organise Jeremy’s successful leadership campaign, he may not have had the impact that he has up and down the country.
I for one decided to support Jeremy months ago and my determination to see a more fair and equal society where no one and no community is left behind has been entrenched and become more determined by watching the two-faced backstabbing hypocrites in the PLP try their best to undermine me, and him.
I thought Clive Lewis was great on Marr, try and watch his appearance if it’s posted. We’re nearly there, when Jeremy becomes leader, everything will change and our new politics will start to go forward.
It will be the end of blue labour and the start of a new era in politics.
Many thanks to Michael Wander for sharing
Jennie Formby: Labour's new general secretary