FNC Interviews Brit Who Warns America Against National Health Care

On Friday's Glenn Beck Program, FNC aired a pre-recorded interview between host Beck and a British member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, who warned against the dangers of instituting a national health system in America because of the problems Britons must endure from their country's government-run monopoly, the National Health Service. During an interview in which he recounted the long waits, the inability to go outside the system for faster treatment, and the system's discrimination against elderly patients, Hannan summed up his amazement that Americans would consider such a system:

I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system in peacetime and massively expanding the role of the state when there's no need.


He also warned that once such a massive bureaucracy and voting bloc of government workers becomes entrenched, such a system would likely be impossible to get rid of:

I could tell you horror stories about elderly people kind of left starving in wards, you know? And the amazing thing is, you know, why do we put up with it? The reason we put up with it for so long is because it has become such a huge system. ... We have 1.4 million people employed by our National Health Service. It is the third biggest employer in the world after the Red Army in China and the Indian National Railways. ... And that is the electoral bloc that makes it almost impossible to get rid of. So if you do this thing, if, you know, you're going to decide it, but if you do it, don't imagine that you can come back and change your minds a couple of years from now.

Hannan recounted the experience of a friend of his who broke his ankle and was not allowed to purchase painkillers out of pocket as he tried to endure the lengthy wait for treatment in the emergency room:

And he said, "Look, I'm in real pain, can I have some painkillers while I'm waiting?" And they said, "No, get to the back of the line." He said, "Look, I'd buy them." And they said, I think they became very aggressive, "What do you mean you're going to buy them? This is the National Health Service, so we don't have any provision for independent purchase of medicine." So that's the mentality.

Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Friday, August 7, Glenn Beck Program on FNC:

GLENN BECK: Now, see that, I made it look spooky. European socialized health care, it's not spooky or riddled with problems. No, it's not. And you're not going to be more ill if we adopt it here in the U.S. It's not going to be sunshine and lollipops. Socialized medicine, some will take a counter to that and say, "No, Glenn, I think it stinks on ice." But to find that out, you have to talk to somebody who knows the system firsthand. Daniel Hannan, he is a member of European Parliament from southeast England. Big fan, sir. Welcome.

DANIEL HANNAN, MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Thank you.

BECK: Nice to have you here. Now, do you think you could stay and run, you can't run for President, but, you know, you just run for Congress or something. You have a lot of fans here in America.

HANNAN: Yes, certainly, I'm a really big fan of your Constitution, and I'm a pretty strict interpretationist about it. So the presidency is not.

BECK: You are one of the only people, politicians, that I've heard in a long time that say you're a fan of the Constitution. Not real popular right now here in America.

HANNAN: But, you know, I'm maybe not popular among all the politicians. But, look, it works. I mean, look at what it's delivered.l It's made you rich and free and independent. And it has driven those values to every continent in the world, and so that the world owes you something.

BECK: Here we have a Congress and a President that are not listening to the American people, and they're not listening and reading the Constitution, and are about to deliver us the universal right to medicine that is just fantastic in your country. Tell me about how great universal health care is.

HANNAN: Well, I mean, the most striking thing about it is that you are very often just sent to the back of the queue. You turn up with a complaint, with an ailment and you're told, "Okay, how about October of next year" or whatever it is. And you're then not able to supplement your treatment, your state health care treatment, with any private money of your own. People who had conditions which they then tried to buy drugs for independently, they were told that the whole treatment would be stopped. Now, I had a friend of mine -- this is an amazing story -- a friend of mine broke his ankle, and he went into the accident and emergency, and it was a Friday night. Now, one of our national traditions is that on Friday nights we all get drunk and have fights with each other. So there was a long queue of people to get in.

And he said, "Look, I'm in real pain, can I have some painkillers while I'm waiting?" And they said, "No, get to the back of the line." He said, "Look, I'll buy them." And they said, they became very aggressive at that, "What do you mean you're going to buy them? This is the National Health Service, so we don't have any provision for independent purchase of medicine." So that's the mentality.

BECK: I can't imagine what Americans will do when they have to wait. I mean, we just put this up on the screen. Cataract surgery, you have to wait eight months. Hip replacement, 11 months. You know, you may be free, but what's your quality of life?

HANNAN: Sure.

BECK: You have to wait for 11 months.

HANNAN: Sure.

BECK: Knee replacement, wait for 12 months. Herniated disc, five months.

HANNAN: And if you can't work during that period, then you're losing income. So it's not really free, is it? And, in any case, it's not free because you're paying for it through your taxes.

BECK: We just found out that, and God bless him, he's a guy I disagree with on, you know, on almost everything, and he is my Senator. But I don't wish him ill. But we just found that Senator Chris Dodd has prostrate cancer. I'd like to make a challenge to Senator Chris Dodd to go over to your country and be treated with prostrate cancer. Here in the U.S., five-year relative survival rate is 100 percent. In Canada, it's 95 percent. In the U.K., it's 77 percent.

HANNAN: Quite. That is an extraordinary figure. You think of those statistics, and maybe that explains why, as I understand it, your Senators and Congressmen are not proposing to be part of this system themselves. Listen, our system, our NHS came out of a peculiar time. We were basically under full mobilization when we invented this, right? It was-

BECK: World War II.

 HANNAN: It's Word War II, 1944. So it was a time when we had food rationing, when everything had been nationalized, when we had hugely high taxes, you know, because everything had been conscripted into the war war. And that was the product, that was the thinking that led to the state health care system. I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system in peacetime and massively expanding the role of the state when there's no need.

BECK: Because they would say that this is going to save us money.

HANNAN: Well, you know, it is the single biggest item of our government budget. And it's, you know, the state generally doesn't do things as efficiently as the market does. Of course it doesn't. If you know that you're getting the same treatment without paying for it, you have no incentive to keep costs down.

BECK: Daniel, what is -- I mean, have you been -- do you follow here in America at all what's happening on the ground with our politicians? Because they are currently getting hammered by the people as they're coming home. These Congressmen are coming home, and I hope to God, that, Congress, you learn from this, because it's only going to get much, much worse for you. What could they possibly be thinking?

HANNAN: Well, I mean, I don't know. But I just say, as an elected representative myself, no politician can disregard his constituents' opinion. And there's no dishonor in an elected politician listening to what his people want. That's what we call democracy, right? There's no kind of weakness. That's how the system is meant to work. So I hope that people watching this program, whichever side they're on, are going to make their views felt, and I hope that their representatives will listen to them over the summer vacation and come back. Quite apart from anything else, I just wonder at a time like this how the U.S. can afford something of this scale. I mean, maybe if things had been different.

BECK: They're telling us that we can't afford not to do it. They're telling us this lie that somehow or another, if we do this, this is going to solve all of our problems with our debt and deficit. It's going to, somehow or another, we're going to save so much in health care. I can't imagine how. You deny people service at a certain age for certain procedures, do you not?

HANNAN: I mean, the worst, the worst thing to be is elderly on a system like ours. It's actually, to be fair, it's not so bad with kids. You know, it generally tends to reflect social values. But we have got, I could tell you horror stories about elderly people kind of left starving in wards, you know? And the amazing thing is, you know, why do we put up with it? The reason we put up with it for so long is because it has become such a huge system. It's got such an enormous bureaucracy based around it, right?

BECK: Yeah.

HANNAN: We have 1.4 million people employed by our National Health Service. It is the third biggest employer in the world after the Red Army in China and the Indian National Railways. Most of those 1.4 million people are administrators, that the managers outnumber the doctors and nurses. And that is the electoral bloc that makes it almost impossible to get rid of. So if you do this thing, if, you know, you're going to decide it, but if you do it, don't imagine that you can come back and change your minds a couple of years from now.


BECK: That's why I say, America, you cannot let this thing pass. You can't let any of this structure in because you think the third largest employer in-

HANNAN: In the world.

BECK: -in the world, do you think, now you understand why they want it so badly. That's why. This is going to change the face of America, and they'll do it forever. Daniel, thank you very much.

HANNAN: Thank you, Glenn.