THE RED FLAG MOURNS STEPHEN HAWKING AND PRISES HIS DEDICATION TO NATIONAL HEARTH CARE AND THE DISABLED


Demonstrators calling for greater funding for Britain’s National Health Service in London this weekend. Credit Will Oliver/European Pressphoto Agency

LONDON — In a tweet on Monday, President Trump claimed that thousands of people in Britain were marching because their country’s National Health Service was “going broke and not working,” and that Democrats pushing for universal health care in the United States were pursuing a similar failed model.

The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!

Here is a closer look at his assertions.

Is the N.H.S. ‘Not Working’?

The National Health Service is certainly being stretched.

Since the start of this decade, budgetary austerity has kept annual growth in health spending at around 1.2 percent (adjusted for inflation) — significantly less than the 4 percent increases that were the historical norm.

Patients often wait months, even for essential procedures. Waiting rooms are often crowded.

Such crowding — and in particular immigrants’ use of the health system — was cited as a factor by some voters in Britain’s June 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. But paradoxically, the plans for that “Brexit” may have made the situation worse: Fearing that they will not have a long-term future in Britain, many skilled health workers, particularly nurses, have left the country, exacerbating staff shortages.

Meanwhile, strains on the system have been worsened by an unusually strong flu outbreak this winter that forced hospitals to cancel many elective procedures and, in some cases, delay surgeries for patients with life-threatening conditions like cancer and heart disease.

A shortage of beds has also resulted in delays to emergency services, with some patients waiting up to 12 hours in emergency wards before being seen.


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Not at all. In fact, the thousands who marched in London on Saturday were there not to criticize the health service, but to urge the government to support it and give it greater funding to cope with the winter crisis.

Protesters carried banners reading “More Staff, More Beds, More Funds” and “Saving Lives Costs Money, Saving Money Costs Lives.” They chanted, “Keep your hands off our N.H.S.”

Created in 1948 during a bleak period after World War II, the National Health Service is seen as one of Britain’s most cherished institutions — a greater source of pride, according to some polls, than even the monarchy.

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. Almost no one in Britain is bankrupted by medical expenses, no one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered.

To take one measure, the United States spends more than all other rich nations on health care, but with decidedly mixed outcomes. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Why Did Trump Mention It?

Many observers noted that Mr. Trump wrote his Twitter post less than an hour after Nigel Farage — the former leader of the populist U.K. Independence Party and an ally of Mr. Trump — appeared on a Fox News program and asserted that the pressures faced by the N.H.S. were caused by immigration.

“The big problem we’ve got is a population crisis caused by government policy on immigration,” Mr. Farage said. “We have a population of 65 million, but it’s increasing by half a million people a year. We just haven’t got enough hospitals, we haven’t got enough doctors, we haven’t got enough facilities.”

Mr. Farage also warned that if the United States introduced a universal health care system, it would become “politically impossible” to return to a private system or reduce the benefits.

“Let’s be in no doubt we’ve got a big problem, a really big problem with the N.H.S.,” he said.

Britain’s political leaders were quick to answer Mr. Trump. Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “proud” of the service, and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, also a member of her governing Conservative Party, responded on Twitter by criticizing America’s health care system for not covering all of its citizens.

Who Favors Such a System?

It depends. Many Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — talk about support for “universal health care,” but that term usually refers to universal health insurance coverage, and there are competing visions of how to achieve that goal.

Public support for a single-payer system — one in which the government pays medical bills — has been growing, and politicians on the left like Bernie Sanders have urged America to “join every industrialized country and guarantee health care to all Americans as a right.” (The United States does have a single-payer system, Medicare, for Americans over 65.) Polls show that a plurality, but not a majority, favor such a system.

Before the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, President Barack Obama expressed sympathy for the single-payer approach, but he ultimately went for a complex system of tax credits and legislative and spending changes to expand insurance coverage — bringing down the number of uninsured to 28 million in 2016, from more than 48 million in 2010.

Although a Republican effort to repeal the law failed last summer, the system remains on shaky ground. The Republican-led Congress recently rescinded the part of the law that requires individuals to hold health insurance, but companies with more than 50 people still must offer coverage for their workers.

For now, the system of subsidy payments to help low-income Americans get coverage remains intact, as does the system of exchanges from which people not covered through their employers can shop for a health plan.

The Takeaway

Mr. Trump may have had a point — that many British people are unhappy with their National Health Service — but not one that supports his overall view.

Most British people want more funding to shore up their single-payer system, and support for getting rid of it is negligible.

Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018)[14][15] was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge.[16][17] His scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.[18][19]

Hawking was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and achieved commercial success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general. His book, A Brief History of Time, appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.

Hawking had a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease), that gradually paralysed him over the decades.[20][21] Even after the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device, initially through use of a hand-held switch, and eventually by using a single cheek muscle.

Stephen Hawking Defends Care in Britain

The physicist Stephen Hawking is defending Britain’s National Health Service after an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily said Mr. Hawking “wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K.,” where the health service would have deemed his life “essentially worthless.”

The problem with the editorial, of course, is that Dr. Hawking, the author of “A Brief History of Time,” is very much a Briton — born in Oxford and currently a professor at the University of Cambridge.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Physicist Stephen Hawking receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday from President Obama.

The publication’s mistake, which came in an editorial titled “How House Bill Runs Over Grandma,” has since been corrected. But on a larger level, the snafu also shows how quickly rationing, particularly at the end of life, has become a focus of the health care reform debate.

Dr. Hawking — who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Wednesday — responded to the editorial this week, telling The Guardian newspaper, “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the N.H.S. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

(For the record, the original editorial contained this: “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.”)

Wesley F. Mann, the editor of Investor’s Business Daily, did not respond to a request for comment.

The I.B.D. editorial takes a look at rationing in the British health care system, calling the consequences “legendary.”

“The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror movie script,” the editorial asserted.

“The British have succeeded in putting a price tag on human life, as we are about to.”

To back up that claim, the editorial quotes Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, who wrote in The New York Post that “One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin recently took a similar tack on her Facebook page, writing that the sick and elderly would have to stand before “Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

The New York Times’s Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn have found that those “concerns appear to be unfounded,” noting that the AARP said “the rumors out there are flat-out lies.”

What the House bill would do, according to Mr. Pear and Mr. Herszenhorn, is “provide Medicare coverage for optional consultations with doctors who advise patients on life-sustaining treatment and ‘end-of-life services,’ including hospice care.”

Politifact.com, The St. Petersburg Times’s truth-squadding team, has also looked into statements of Ms. McCaughey, including this one: “Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner.”

The group said that Ms. McCaughey was “spreading a ridiculous falsehood.”  https://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/12/stephen-hawking-...

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HEALTHCARE IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE

Stephen Hawking, in His Own Words

“I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”


https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/03/15/world/15Hawking-quotes/m... 1024w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/03/15/world/15Hawking-quotes/m... 2048w" sizes="((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 60vw, 100vw" />
In 2007, when he was 65, Stephen Hawking took part in a zero-gravity flight. Asked why he took such risks, he said, “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.”CreditZero Gravity Corp., via Associated Press


Stephen Hawking, the brilliant physicist who died at 76 in Cambridge, England, on Wednesday (Einstein’s birthday), never won a Nobel Prize. But his book “A Brief History of Time” made him a star beyond his field, and his penchant for dropping bons mots on subjects large and small made him an enduring pop culture figure.

Here is a selection of his quotes.

On Death

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”

The Possibility of an Afterlife

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

His Mission in Life

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

God

“There is no god. I am an atheist.”

Fame and His Disability

“The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognized. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away.”


Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest physicists of our time, died on Wednesday. He is immortalized by his brilliant research, but also by his pop culture appearances.Published OnMarch 14, 2018CreditImage by David Parry/Press Association, via Associated Press

Taking Risks

“I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.”

Imperfection

“Without imperfection, you or I would not exist.”

Euthanasia

“The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”

Scientific Discovery

“I wouldn’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.”

Intellectual Showboating

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

Not Winning a Nobel

“The Nobel is given only for theoretical work that has been confirmed by observation. It is very, very difficult to observe the things I have worked on.”

The Importance of Having a Sense of Humor

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

Syria

“What’s happening in Syria is an abomination, one that the world is watching coldly from a distance. Where is our emotional intelligence, our sense of collective justice?”

Sending Out Invitations After a Champagne Party, in Hopes Future Time Travelers Would Show Up

“I was hoping a future Miss Universe was going to step through the door.”

Late Night TV

John Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight”: “You’ve stated that there could be an infinite number of parallel universes. Does that mean there’s a universe out there where I am smarter than you?”

Hawking: “Yes. And also a universe where you’re funny.”

Teenage Yearning

“My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics. Because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes. It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe. And in that universe Zayn is still in One Direction. This girl may like to note that in another possible universe she and Zayn are happily married.”

Women

“Women. They are a complete mystery.”

‘Brexit’

“I deal in tough mathematical questions every day, but please don’t ask me to help with Brexit.”

Humans

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special.”

Knowledge

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

Black Holes

“They’re named black holes because they are related to human fears of being destroyed or gobbled up. I don't have fears of being thrown into them. I understand them. I feel in a sense that I am their master.”

Depression

“Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up — there’s a way out.”

Artificial Intelligence

A.I. could be the “worst event in the history of our civilization.”

Climate Change

“Climate change is one of the great dangers we face and it’s one we can prevent.”

Aliens

“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

The Possibility of Contact With Aliens

“I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low.”

Sending Humans to Mars

“Stupid. Robots would do a better job and be much cheaper because you don't have to bring them back.”

Why Humans Should Leave Earth

“We are running out of space, and the only place we can go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth.”

The Meaning of Life

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

Yonette Joseph is the London weekend editor. She was previously a breaking-news editor in New York and has worked for The Washington Post and The Miami Herald.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/world/europe/stephen-hawking-quo...

LIFE IS TO BE LIVED REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES

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Comment by mary gravitt on March 14, 2018 at 11:17am

A great man died today and left behind many American political right-wing devils who see healthcare as a PRIVILEGE instead of a human right.

Comment by mary gravitt on March 14, 2018 at 12:09pm

We deserved him as a model of how our weakness cannot stop us.  We all owe each other to fight for what is right, and he proves it.

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