Stephen Hawking Responds To Right Wing Misinformation on Health Care

Earlier in the week a number of right wing sites such as Human Events and Investor’s Business Daily were making the claim that “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

Their “logic” is to 1) confuse health reform as proposed in the United States with the British system, even though the two are quite different and 2) claim there is validity to the claims that health care reform will lead to “death panels” when nothing of this nature is contained in the bill. Yet another flaw in their logic is that Stephen Hawking lives in the U.K. He has responded to this claim:

I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.

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10 Comments

  1. 1
    Nigel says:

    Please, Dr. Hawking, let’s be honest.  If you were an anonymous coal miner, do you think the care would be the same? 

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Nigel,

    You are the one being dishonest here, not Hawking. First of all, what evidence do you have that a coal miner wouldn’t receive similar care? After all, equality is a hallmark of the British system. Secondly, the claim was that Stephen Hawking specifically, not an anonymous coal miner, “wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K.”

  3. 3
    Infidel753 says:

    And would a world-class scientist and a coal miner receive similar levels of treatment under the current US system, given the different kinds of insurance coverage each would be likely to have? It would be interesting to know which system would have the larger difference in quality of treatment in such a case.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Here it all comes down to their insurance. The coal miner might receive excellent care if they work for someone who provides good insurance (provided the insurance doesn’t find a way to drop the particular coal miner once he develops an expensive problem).

  5. 5
    battlebob says:

    However, currently in this country, unless the coal miner belongs to a union or his benevelent company has provided him with health insurance that recognises breathing related diseases, the coal minor stands a good chance of dieing from mine-related diseases.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    battlebob,

    Yes, but the bizarre thing about our system is that it is possible that the coal miner gets better care assuming they work for a company which provides insurance (and he isn’t dropped). Most likely the hypothetical world-class scientist works for an academic institution which provides coverage, but in many cases you can’t predict who has the better shot of getting covered based up status of the job.

  7. 7
    battlebob says:

    unless his black lung disease is considered a pre-existing disease, but there is always workman’s comp. Insurance companies bet they can beat the clock and you die before they pay.

  8. 8
    battlebob says:

    Ron,
    Changing the subject….Did you get any storm damage last weekend. We got hit pretty hard in Alto but no damage. The weather reports indicated your area was hammered.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    With a job related problem most likely he will be covered. However if he has a problem like Stephen Hawking then there is the risk he would lose his job due to being unable to work, and then lose his coverage. Realistically a coal miner with a problem like Hawking’s might start out with good coverage but would not be able to keep it. On the other hand, if he had a problem as serious as Hawking he would get Medicare disability (regardless of whether he initially had insurance) and therefore have coverage.

    In no other industrialized country would there be such back and forth over the simple question of whether someone would be covered for their medical problems.

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    We had a part of one tree down but nothing serious at home. A couple tress at the entrace to the subdivision are also down. Fruitport and other some areas got hit a lot worse than we did.

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