Former British Health Minister: U.K. System not 'Ideal' for U.S.

Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary “Sicko”?

That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it’s not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC’s Aug. 31 “Street Signs” to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were “too partisan.”

“Street Signs’ host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi – those decisions are made on a local level.

“These decisions made independent, is about new drugs and new technologies,” Darzi said. “Our payer is a single-payer system, which actually is divided to 150 different local payers – they decide with the local population, what the local population needs are.”

However, Darzi told Burnett that a single-payer system in the United States wouldn’t necessarily be the ideal model and that the American health care system is not that terrible.

“I’m in no way suggesting that our health care system, or a single-payer, is the ideal model for you,” Darzi continued. “You have an excellent health care system – units and providers. However, there are some certain challenges within the system itself.”

But Darzi did trot out the notion that as a global leader, the United States should offer coverage for every citizen.

“The issue that you’re raising is how do you provide a comprehensive cover to everyone,” “I think – there is no question in my mind we all look up to the U.S. – that every citizen in the U.S. should be mandated to have some form of a cover, health cover.”