LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britons including Prime Minister Gordon Brown have leapt to the defense of their creaking healthcare service after President Barack Obama's plans for a similar system in the United States were branded "evil" by Republicans.


The above quote is the lead from a CNN story about how the British are reacting to Republican criticism of their national health system. What bothers me is the use of the word "creaky", something that would be fine if it were addressed in the article but is not. This leaves an obvious bias in the article, but a completely unfounded one. I am not British, but I have heard no rumors of NHS being on it's last legs financially or any other way. There may be problems, but calling it creaky is the pot calling the kettle black. If NHS is creaky our system is a smoking wreck.

Second, the statement, "Barack Obama's plans for a similar system in the United States" is simply a fabrication. The bills in Congress right now are nothing like Britain's NHS. NHS is a single payer system directly funded by taxpayer dollars in a country with virtually no private insurance plans except in niche markets. Obama's plan, or rather those written by congress as Obama never formally set out a plan, is at least 90% based on private health insurance with the possibility of a small public option which may or may not grow depending on who you talk to. The congressional bills are based on a mandate that requires people to have insurance, and requires insurers to cover everyone, this is lightyears away from single payer, government run systems. NHS does not mandate anyone have insurance, in Britain simply being in the country is enough to guarantee you are covered.

I personally think it is shameful that we aren't looking harder at single payer, although possibly less like the British system given that we obviously can't completely eradicate the private insurance systems overnight. Most of the waste in healthcare is in the inane billing systems set up by insurance companies, and the costs as insurers scramble to jettison anyone who might possibly be sick now or in the future, causing huge costs down the road which are eventually absorbed as bankruptcies (medical bills being the second most prevalant reason for bankruptcy in this country) and by the federal government through low income insurance like Medicaid and payments to hospitals to cover emergency room care for the uninsured.

The idea of allowing for-profit health insurance is sickening to me. Should health be driven by profit motive? I don't think so. Yet there is little talk of reigning in the ridiculously lavish spending on executive pay in the insurance industry. Republicans?? I hear plenty of Republican grumbling over wall street pay, why are you silent on the excesses of insurance? At the very least I would like to see insurance forced to be run as non-profit. Although Blue Cross (the largest non-profit insurer) is far from perfect, there is a much lower temptation to profit through denying care in that system than a purely for-profit one.

CNN is a terrible source of news, but this article is anything but liberally biased. Has anyone showed this to Fox News? They should be crowing from the rooftops over this one.