GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 15, 2012

Letter: Works and fears for U.K. health care


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I am writing in response to the letter from Milt Lauenstein, headlined “Romney’s plan plays to insurance execs,” (the Times, Tuesday, Oct. 9).

What a unique pleasure it is to lay aside the all-together dreary local economic news of the latest Tool Company developments for a bit, and comment on a subject I know virtually nothing about. As such, this letter will be uncharacteristically short, but hopefully it will further the dialogue.

Two weeks ago my neighbor hosted two middle-aged visitors from the United Kingdom. The visitors and my neighbor have been friends for many years, but I had never met them. I got to know them each in short order and, during a cookout, I asked them what they thought of their health care system.

Both agreed it was very good, virtually free and providing quality care. Their concern was not with the past, but the future. They mentioned the flood of immigrants who knew a good thing when they saw it and were overburdening the system.

We couldn’t talk for long — one of the gentlemen’s ideas of a vacation in the U.S.A. was a two-week shopping excursion. He was excited about driving off to Wal-Mart in Seabrook, N.H., the very next day to purchase a tablet computer. I asked him about the savings compared to his own country.

He quickly told me the $225 device would cost more than $600 in England.

I suppose we can have a health care system like the United Kingdom’s, and we probably could: just as soon as American consumers are willing to pay three times as much for an iPhone as they do here.

At any rate, I do wish we had more Englishmen, such as my neighbor’s friends, in the states ... folks that can see a bargain. When conditions are right, sometimes even prime commercial real estate sells for 50 cents on the dollar.

ZENAS SEPPALA

Granite Street, Rockport